HC Deb 14 December 1961 vol 651 cc634-764
Mr. Speaker

I think that it would be for the convenience of the House if I said that I have selected from the Amendments proposed to the Motion on the Order Paper that standing in the name of the right hon. Member the Leader of the Opposition and other right hon. and hon. Gentlemen.

Sir James Duncan (South Angus)

May I make an appeal to you, Mr. Speaker? This is not a point of order, but I make an appeal that on this occasion, when so many hon. Members want to speak, you should, first, turn a blind eye to more than one Privy Councillor on the back benches on either side, and, secondly, appeal to all hon. Members who catch your eye to make very short speeches so that as many can be included in this debate as is possible. I ask this not in my own interest, because I do not myself want to speak.

Mr. Speaker

I feel sure that the whole House would accept the wisdom of the hon. Member's suggestion. I do not know yet with how many Privy Councillors I am threatened.

3.45 p.m.

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Edward Heath)

I beg to move, That this House supports the action of Her Majesty's Government in making a formal request to the Secretary General of the United Nations to secure an immediate cease fire in Katanga in order to bring to an end the destruction of life and property resulting from the present fighting and thus create conditions in which, in a united Congo, a peaceful and just basis for co-operation may be negotiated. As the House knows, and as I have described in past statements on this matter, there is a serious situation—one of great gravity—in the Congo, and, in particular, in Katanga, where fighting has now been continuing for about ten days, with loss of life—which everybody in the House will deeply regret—both military and civilian, together with serious and widespread damage, both military and civilian, in Katanga. It is a matter of the greatest gravity not only for Katanga, but also for the United Nations and its operations in the Congo, and, indeed, for the whole future of the United Nations.

I have moved a Motion asking the House for support in the formal application that we have made to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for an immediate cease-fire in these circumstances. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition and his right hon. and hon. Friends have put down an Amendment censuring the Government, and rejecting any appeal for a cease-fire. It must be the first time in our history that the British Labour Party has openly rejected an appeal for a cease-fire.

If we were to think about this matter from the point of view of events of this kind happening in one of our own territories the House would be gravely worried, and it would, quite rightly, be receiving suggestions for a cease-fire, for a withdrawal of the forces from each other, and for some way to be found of bringing the combatants together, and so on. That is what one would expect of the House of Commons. In fact, during the last few days many hon. Members have asked what arrangements we could make to bring this conflict to an end.

There are some hon. Members—and the hon. Member for Bosworth (Mr. Wyatt) gave the impression early in the week that he was one—who want to accept the actions of the United Nations right or wrong. That argument is tenable in many ways, but it is not one which Her Majesty's Government can accept. One is quite entitled to support a policy and also to watch with a critical eye its implementation. I would draw the attention of the House to some criticisms made of Her Majesty's Government in the past in the United Nations, and which may be made again today.

I would, first, refer to the remarks of the new Secretary-General, when he spoke for the first time at the end of the Security Council debate about Katanga on November 24. He then said: I must also say without opening up any new debates or entering into a defence of the United Nations Secretariat, for I think it needs none, that I welcome constructive criticism of the Secretariat and that I will be the first to admit its faults and errors and try to do all possible to correct them. Without specific reference to persons or events and without admitting a particular charge, I agree that mistakes have undoubtedly been made in the Congo. No operation of that scope and complexity could be free of them. That was also the view of the former Secretary-General. He accepted the principle of constructive criticism of the Secretariat and of United Nations operations. I hope that today, in this debate, it will be accepted that there is every right to criticise the action carried out by the United Nations or by its servants in its name—from any source and at any time. There is no limitation on the Secretary-General's statement.

As for the future of the United Nations, it seems to me that those who most care about its future should be those who should seek most of all to find an appropriate way of controlling the authority and power with which it is invested. In exactly the same way as in our own parliamentary and democratic system we have developed ways of controlling those who have the power, so I believe that in an international authority ways must be found of exercising similar control and supervision.

I wish to deal with the present situation, but in view of the terms of the Amendment due to be moved by the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson), referring to the "equivocal and vacillating policies" of Her Majesty's Government in the Congo I must go over some of that policy as it has been applied in the past. The Opposition Amendment uses the words that I have quoted. There are other quotations which I could use—in particular, one from Dr. O'Brien which goes far wider in the accusations he makes about Her Majesty's Government. As this, too, is bound to be mentioned in debate it is right that it should be frankly discussed.

Dr. O'Brien said, of our policy: "It has been to give all aid covertly possible to the secessionist régime in Katanga while paying—in an attempt to delude the United States and the Afro-Asian Commonwealth—lip service to the unity of the Congo."

That is a very wide-ranging charge, and I find little in the article which follows to substantiate it. But as we are debating this matter, including past policy, it is right that we should consider it. I believe that there is no justification for such an accusation, and I hope that when the right hon. Member for Huyton speaks he will point out in detail where Her Majesty's Government's policy has been vacillating or equivocal—because Her Majesty's Government have followed a policy which, although it may be criticised by hon. Members opposite, has been a consistent one from the beginning of the operations.

What there has been—and this I fully acknowledge—is a complete difference of opinion in the House about the purpose of the United Nations operation. It is because of that difference of view that right hon. Gentlemen opposite are accusing Her Majesty's Government of changes in policy in relation to the Congo. The House must face the fact that the Congo is an independent country into which the United Nations went to assist an independent Administration—an Administration of complete sovereignty.

Again, different views have been expressed about this. When the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) asked a supplementary question last week he said: If the right hon. Gentleman's contention is that the force is not there to impose a political settlement, what is the purpose of the force?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th December. 1961 Vol. 650, c. 1387.] That is very different from the idea of going into the Congo to help an independent Administration and to allow the Congolese to resolve their own difficulties.

Mr. John Stonehouse (Wednesbury)

Surely the answer to the question the right hon. Gentleman poses is to be found in the Security Council resolution of 21st February, which the Government supported. Paragraph 1 points out the objectives of United Nations and ends with the words: and the use of force, if necessary, in the last resort.

Mr. Heath

I am coming to a detailed examination of the resolutions in a moment, and I will deal with the one containing that paragraph.

At the beginning of his article on Sunday, in the Observer. Dr. O'Brien said: Now that fighting has begun again in Katanga, and while the U.S. is loyally helping the U.N. forces in a practical way, a British Government spokesman has said that a solution ought not to be imposed on Katanga by force. That statement, made in such circumstances, is a betrayal of U.N. soldiers who are now risking their lives in an attempt to implement resolutions which the British Government lacked the courage to veto. That is a clear indication that Dr. O'Brien himself believes—and must have believed at the time he was in the Congo—that the object of this operation was to impose a settlement by force.

Mr. William Warbey (Ashfield)


Mr. Heath

That was the view held and publicly expressed by one of the administrators in the Congo.

I shall now set out again, briefly, how the Government see the objects of the United Nations operation in the Congo. First, it is to provide the Congo with assistance—technical and civil. There has been a substantial amount of such assistance much of which has been very successful, and it is all too often overlooked. Secondly, it is to provide military assistance to enable the security forces to maintain law and order throughout the Congo. When we discuss law and order we regard it in the ordinary way in which we understand it in our towns, and not from a constitutional point of view. Thirdly, it is to prevent the Congo from becoming a new area of the cold war. In this action it has been successful.

By the United Nations having its forces there and controlling the airfields, the operation has been a deterrent to intervention. It has been an operation by the smaller Powers, and for that reason the Belgians were asked to withdraw their forces, even though many people might think that those forces could have contributed to the stability of the Congo. Nevertheless, they were withdrawn under the terms of a United Nations resolution.

Fourthly, the United Nations force is there to enable the Congo to settle its own internal differences and to make its own political arrangements. The view of Her Majesty's Government has always been that this should be carried out peacefully. That has been one of the prime objects of the United Nations in the Congo. The world at large, the great majority of the people in this country, and most hon. Members in this House, regard the United Nations as an organisation of peace and not one constructed to carry out operations of the kind we see at the moment. We believe that this policy should be carried out within the present frontiers of the Congo.

I wish to state clearly, again, that the Government have never supported the secession of the Katanga by word or by deed, and I challenge the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Huyton to point to anything the Government have done which has been designed to support the secession of the Katanga. We have always believed that it is in the interests of world peace; that it is in the interests of the Congo, and also in British interests, to see that the Congo is united and stable within its present frontiers.

Mr. Desmond Donnelly (Pembroke)


Mr. Heath

There has already been an appeal to Mr. Speaker that speeches should be kept short, as many hon. Members wish to speak. I shall do my utmost to comply with that appeal.

I turn now to the United Nations resolutions which have authorised this operation—one of which has been mentioned by the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse). It is on the basis of these that we must consider the Government's policy. The first resolution to which I want to draw the attention of the House is the one of 9th August, 1960, which reaffirms that the United Nations will not be a party to or in any way intervene in or be used to influence the outcome of any internal conflict, constitutional or otherwise. It is difficult to think of a more comprehensive statement—whatever criticisms have been made about some United Nations resolutions being vague and indefinite—dealing with the fact that the United Nations must not take part in any internal political settlement either directly or indirectly.

From the quotations which I have made, it is clear that there is at least misunderstanding about this in the mind of the right hon. Member for Easington and also in the article of Dr. O'Brien that I have quoted. Furthermore, on 21st September, 1960, the United Nations requested the Secretary-General to assist in the maintenance of law and order in the Congo to safeguard its unity, territorial integrity and political independence in the interests of international peace and security. The resolution of 21st February, 1961, urged the United Nations to take all appropriate measures to prevent the occurrence of civil war in the Congo, including arrangements for cease-fires, the halting of all military operations, the prevention of clashes, and the use of force, if necessary, in the last resort. This resolution, therefore, specifically adjures the United Nations to arrange the cease-fires, to prevent clashes and to halt military operations and other acts of that kind. It is a most specific injunction to the United Nations to do that.

When we come to the use of force in the last resort, the leader of the British delegation made his position absolutely plain. There has been an accusation that the British Government have never made their position plain on this matter. The leader of the British delegation made it plain. He said: I must explain that the interpretation which my delegation puts upon the words at the end of that paragraph, namely, and the use of force, if necessary, in the last resort' is that force will only be used by the United Nations to prevent a clash between hostile Congolese troops. There can be no question of empowering the United Nations to use its forces to impose a political settlement". Once again, we made our position absolutely plain.

Mr. Warbey


Mr. Heath

Since there has been continuous discussion on the withdrawal of the mercenaries, to which the right hon. Member for Easington referred twice in supplementary questions, I come to the next part of the resolution, which urges that measures be taken for the immediate withdrawal and evacuation of all Belgian and other foreign military and paramilitary personnel and political advisers not under United Nations command and mercenaries. That paragraph did not include permission for the use of force. That is very important. It explains a great deal of what went on last September in Katanga. It does not give authority for the removal of mercenaries by force. Let us be clear about that.

Mr. Warbey


Mr. Speaker

Unless the Minister gives way, the hon. Gentleman must not persist.

Mr. Heath

It does not give authority for the removal of mercenaries by force.

Mr. A. C. Manuel (Central Ayrshire)


Mr. Heath

They could have been removed in the way that they were removed on 28th August, when it was done by co-operation between Mr. Tshombe and the United Nations.

Her Majesty's Government have fully supported the resolutions which I have quoted. It was only on the resolution of 24th November, 1961, that Her Majesty's Government abstained, for the reasons that I have given. At that time, they feared that it would increase the tension in Katanga, because the application of force to the removal of mercenaries in Katanga would lead to the fear that the United Nations forces were going to try to overrun Katanga. It is perfectly clear that tension increased immediately after the passage of that resolution. There were other reasons why Her Majesty's Government abstained which I have explained and I shall not go through them again. As I say, the passing of that resolution led to a great increase in tension.

I wish to turn from the questions which have been raised about the support which Her Majesty's Government have given to the United Nations to mention again, briefly, what that support has been. First, there has been financial support, in which we have paid everything which has been asked of us on our full assessment. We have made a voluntary gift of 3 million dollars. We have provided air transport and have waived the cost of the initial lift. We have provided relief for famine and in other ways. Whenever we have been asked to supply transport for Commonwealth forces, we have done so. The total cost of doing that comes to just under £5½ million, which could well have been used in our own dependent territories. However, it was used to support the United Nations operation in the Congo. Therefore, financially, we have carried out all our obligations.

Very early on in the operation we received a request, which I do not think has been made public before, to train cadets or members of the A.N.C., which then badly needed retraining, in order to restore discipline. We undertook to do this, but shortly afterwards the request was countermandad by the United Nations forces. We were pre- pared to help in retraining members of the A.N.C. [HON. MEMBERS: "What is that?"] The National Congolese Army.

British representatives, whether at Leopoldville or Elisabethville, have always given assistance. In particular, there were the incidents at Matadi, which the House may have forgotten by now, in which there was great tension between the United Nations forces and the Leopoldville administration. We used all our influence in the way of conciliation. Rather than allow a head-on collision between United Nations forces and the forces of the authorities in Leopoldville, an arrangement was made through mediators, particularly through the good work of Mr. Gardiner, of Ghana, and Mr. Nhokwedi, of Nigeria, to iron out those difficulties and have a peaceful settlement. That seemed to us how events in the Congo should be handled.

In addition, we have played our part in the removal of mercenaries. Many of my right hon. and hon. Friends have been critical of us for doing that, but we have done it, and invalidated or withdrawn their passports. We gave support in the election of President Kasavubu's delegation to the United Nations. We gave our support in all the work which went towards restoring parliamentary administration in the Congo. The Government have followed a consistent policy towards the Congo and the United Nations operation.

It may be that hon. Members will want to argue that we were wrong in insisting that it should be done by peaceful means. We believe that we were right. As the resolution of 17th April, 1961, urges the Congolese to do likewise, we do not believe that we have been inconsistent. Others may want to impose a solution by force. We believe that they are wrong, because that is not the purpose of the United Nations. Nor have they, in the long-term, the forces with which to do it.

I turn to the events of last autumn which have led up to the present situation. On 28th August, there was the operation for the removal of mercenaries, which went very smoothly. It was said that all except 104 of them were expelled from Katanga. Mr. Tshombe accepted it. That demonstrated that an operation of this kind could be carried out by co-operation between the United Nations administration and the provincial administration in the Katanga.

On 13th September there was a further operation. That was the one which has proved so controversial. As I have said, Her Majesty's Government were not critical of the expulsion of mercenaries, but they were critical of this operation because it seemed to them that it went very much further than the one of 28th August, which, as I said in the debate in the middle of October, led one to believe that an attempt was being made to impose a particular settlement on the Katanga. My noble Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the Marquess of Lansdowne, has given an account of his mission. He raised with Mr. Hammarskjold the points which caused us anxiety, and quite rightly so. Mr. Hammarskjold said that he would have all of them investigated, and he undertook to give us a reply. Alas, the tragedy was that he lost his life before he could do so.

Other criticisms have been made, which may be raised by right hon. and hon. Members today, about aspects of that particular operation. I wish to deal with one or two of them. First, there is the question of the overflying rights for the Ethiopian jets. Dr. O'Brien, in the Observer article, stated: One was the failure to arrive of the Ethiopian jet fighters which we had been told were on the way. We learned later that they had been held up at Entebbe, Uganda, because the local Administration of that British Protectorate found technical difficulties in clearing them…Our jets were still at Entebbe. I wish to give an account of what happened. We were asked late on 16th September for overflying rights for these jets. This was at the same time as Mr. Hammarskjold told us that he would do his best to organise a cease-fire. Lord Lansdowne was, therefore, asked to inquire of Mr. Hammarskjold whether he wished to risk air warfare at the same time as he was trying to organise ceasefire talks. We for our part said that we would use any influence we had on Mr. Tshombe to ground the Fouga. That took place. Lord Lansdowne saw Mr. Hammarskjold on 17th September. We received his report the same evening and, as a result, permission was granted early the next morning. There was, therefore, hardly any time taken over what I believe was a rightful inquiry of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Her Majesty's Government were absolutely entitled to make an inquiry of that kind over a matter of such importance. But the statement that the jets were waiting at Entebbe is not correct, because they were not in a state to leave or able to leave Ethiopia until some five days later. They were, therefore, never at Entebbe because of a refusal of overflying rights.

The next accusation against the Government is that they were responsible for bringing about the cease-fire. Indeed, I have just heard an hon. Member opposite say that aloud. If they had been responsible, there would have been nothing dishonourable about that. But, in fact, it was Mr. Hammarskjold's decision which he had already reached before Lord Lansdowne arrived in Leopoldville. It was Mr. Hammarskjold's own decision, as I have told the House, to choose Ndola for the meeting place. I shall not disguise from the House that we ourselves saw considerable difficulties in having a meeting of that kind there at that time, in a disturbed state in Rhodesia, but it was his own desire and decision to have it there.

It is said that Mr. Hammarskjold was influenced by us in this decision. I have indicated that he made the decision on his own. Those of us who knew Mr. Hammarskjold's character, and the way in which he stood up in the Security Council of the United Nations on occasions against a tremendous Russian onslaught, do not believe that he was a man to be influenced in his own decisions. He made them himself, and he stuck to them.

After this, came the cease-fire agreement which we supported. It is said that this was a defeat for the United Nations. But it was only a defeat for the United Nations if those in control of the operation had decided that they wanted to go much further. That is the only way in which it can be described as a defeat for the United Nations. It was, in fact, a supreme effort by the Secretary-General, in the first instance, to bring about a ceasefire. It was then carried on by his own officials, and one can only wish that it had been more effective in these last few weeks.

Since then, Her Majesty's Government have made many efforts for conciliation and, in particular, to bring Mr. Tshombe and Mr. Adoula together. Lord Lansdowne, on his visit, did his utmost to persuade the two leaders to meet. In late October, our own Consul-General in Elisabethville approached Mr. Tshombe. We approached him again on 2nd November, when he was visiting Geneva, and on 11th, 12th and 13th November our Ambassador went from Leopoldville to Elisabethville specifically for the purpose of trying to arrange a meeting between the two men. I have given the House those details to show that we have been actively pursuing the path of conciliation.

I wish to tell hon. Members the two main difficulties that we have found in bringing the two men together. First, Mr. Adoula is Prime Minister of the Congo and, as such, has to consider the relationship between a Prime Minister of the Congo as a whole and someone he considers to be Prime Minister of a province of the Congo. Therefore, he has so far insisted on a meeting in Leopoldville and also recognition of the loi fondamentale and the constitutional arrangements under it.

On the other hand, Mr. Tshombe has a different view about the constitutional position and his own position, but, in particular, he has the greatest possible fear for his own security. He is not prepared to accept the undertakings of the United Nations or of the central Government outside Katanga. Considering that, having once attended a conference, he was arrested while United Nations personnel were present—I am not here arguing the rights or wrongs of that—and then detained for several weeks, one can understand the difficulties of arranging a meeting. I have told the House frankly what those difficulties are.

Between 13th November and the Ambassador's visit and the outbreak of fighting, we had been trying to work out a solution with other countries—with some of our friends—to see whether there was enough common ground, based on the statements made both by Mr. Tshombe and Mr. Adoula, to provide a basis for negotiation. That is where we had been turning our efforts in the last few weeks. Our examination showed that it might have been possible to find a basis of that kind, but then the outbreak of fighting occurred. There was also the Security Council Resolution of 24th November.

The result of that was, regrettably, Mr. Tshombe's speech calling on Katanga to resist. On 28th November there were ugly incidents, of which I told the House at the time, which involved Mr. Smith and Mr. Urquhuart, with both of whom we thought a new start might be made in trying to get a fresh relationship in Katanga which would then lead to a meeting between Mr. Tshombe and Mr. Adoula under the auspices of the United Nations. It is another tragedy of this ill-fated operation that these two men, almost as soon as they arrived, were involved in the ugly incident in which they were attacked.

On 3rd December there was the abduction of 11 soldiers from the airport: on 4th December the erection of the road blocks; on 5th December there came the decision of the United Nations to assert its right of freedom of movement. Since that time there has been bitter fighting, with casualties on both sides. I have not described all the details of every incident, because there is not the time to do so. I have given the House the details as we knew them on previous occasions.

Many of the incidents are inseparable from warfare. That is one of the strongest arguments for bringing the conflict to a conclusion. Many will argue about whether some of these incidents are deliberate, but we must all realise that many are inescapable from the nature of warfare when it is carried on. This is an operation which started from a series of incidents after high tension had been raised following the resolution of 24th November. It has been conducted by the United Nations in self-defence and in terms which have been described by the Secretary-General and of which hon. Members may have differing views. It is not an operation to arrest mercenaries. It may well be that in the course of it mercenaries will be killed, or some will be arrested, but the Secretary-General himself has made it plain that this is not an operation for the arrest of mercenaries.

I now wish to say something about the request of the Secretary-General for the supply of 1,000 lb. bombs. This was first raised with Her Majesty's Government on 21st October, and we had grave doubts in the period immediately following the cease-fire about the wisdom of this request by the United Nations. It was, therefore, discussed in New York. It was complicated by the approach of the Security Council resolution of 24th November. Her Majesty's Government were embarrassed because of the absence of emphasis on conciliation in that resolution. The United Nations renewed its request in the late evening of 7th December, and, after further exchanges resulting in the undertakings which were given, with very great reluctance we agreed.

I do not think that there can be anybody in the House who would think that Her Majesty's Government approached a problem like this without the greatest reluctance. We know what weapons of this kind mean, and the idea of using them in the heart of Africa in these circumstances must be abhorrent to every hon. Member if it can possibly be avoided. [HON. MEMBERS: "Suez."] Therefore, we make no apology for approaching it with great reluctance.

On Monday I made a statement explaining our attitude and what had happened over the week-end. I said, first—I wish to emphasise this—that Her Majesty's Government are now seriously disturbed by the way in which the fighting in Katanga has developed. Attacks on non-military objectives, such as power stations, mines, dams, hospitals and private houses, have been reported, although some of these have not been confirmed. There has been some loss of civilian life in addition to military casualties. It was the spread of fighting in that Way, with reports that civilian objectives were being hit and civilians killed, which aroused further doubts in our mind. [HON. MEMBERS: "Suez."] Perhaps hon. Gentlemen would like to judge this on the circumstances in this case.

I went on to say that that was the 'first thing which raised further doubts in our minds about the use of weapons of this destructive power. I then said: Her Majesty's Government are also greatly concerned about certain statements which have been made over the week-end by both military and civil United Nations officials in the Congo about their objectives in Katanga. In this connection, they are studying the important statement made by the Secretary-General last night and, in particular, the latter part describing the purpose of the present military operation."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th December, 1961; Vol. 651, c. 34–5.] Towards the end of our exchanges that afternoon, when I was asked a question by the Leader of the Opposition, I quoted part of the interview by Dr. Linner—first, about a political solution, and, secondly, about having carte blanche.

Later that evening, after we had had our exchanges in the House, I saw a statement which had come from Leopoldville made by Dr. Linner about the circumstances. When the interview was published in the Swedish Press, we checked at that source and asked about it. We were told that it had been published in good faith because it was believed to represent the results of the interview. This was on Friday.

Mr. Denis Healey (Leeds, East)

The denial was on Sunday.

Mr. Heath

On Sunday, part appeared in the Swedish Press which I did not see. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] Because it did not reach us in London, and I did not see the first part of Dr. Linner's statement until the evening of last Monday. The second half of the statement dealt with a different matter, namely, having carte blanche. Yesterday, there was a statement by the journalist himself about the distortion which had arisen.

Of course, I completely accept what Dr. Linner has said is the correct version of his interview. The first statement he made did not contain a denial of the remarks printed in the Swedish Press. The United Nations, with which we raised this on Sunday evening, gave no denial either. It gave the statement of the Secretary-General, and on that I based my statement to the House. The second part of Dr. Linner's statement was about his authority in the United Nations, and that remains as I quoted in my remarks to the Leader of the Opposition.

The extract from Dr. Linner's statement which was made to the Swedish Consul is as follows: That I have, within the framework of the Security Council decision been given free hands to conduct the local action is correct with the obvious amendment that this carte blanche also includes our civilian and military leadership in Katanga, which obviously has greater possibilities than myself to closely follow the developments and thereby take required actions. It is within the framework, but it does leave the decision about the interpretation of these resolutions to those who are in the Congo and Katanga itself. This is obviously a matter which must be most carefully considered in operations of this kind. We sought clarification of this from the Secretary-General. We have received it and I will mention it in a moment.

Mr. J. J. Mendelson (Penistone)

If the right hon. Gentleman, through the good offices of our Embassy in Stockholm, was able to confirm the statement published in the popular paper Expressen over the weekend, although it appeared only on Friday afternoon, why was he not, with the same services of our Embassy, by Monday afternoon, when he made his statement, able to learn of the denial published in Svenska Dagblad, which is a much more serious paper?

Mr. Heath

Because we received the first part before the weekend and the second part in the Swedish Press was not actually a denial. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I am not making any fuss about this. I am stating the facts. I have told the House that I fully accept everything Dr. Linner has said, but I have also stated that this was only one of the reasons why we were disturbed over the weekend and not the most important reason. I stated that the most important reason was the development of the fighting.

Finally, the Secretary-General yesterday withdrew the request for the bombs. The Secretary-General has set out the objectives of the United Nations operation. They are wide objectives, and we must realise that. I do not want to quote them all to the House, because the text is available, but they are objectives to protect the United Nations forces, with the statement that the military operations will be pursued up to such time, and only up to such time, as the objectives are achieved, either by military or by other means. We have satisfactory guarantees in this regard for the future, not only in Elisabethville but over the whole of Katanga.

This means that it is a very considerable operation on which the United Nations is embarked. That, again, obviously raises great apprehensions as to how long the fighting is to continue and what the results are to be in the course of it. It is now a worsening situation and some of the incidents are difficult to reconcile with the aims of the operation as described at the moment by the Secretary-General. In fact, the United Nations is now in danger of carrying out operations against very bitter hostility in Katanga.

The operations may last some time. We cannot tell. There is that risk. In the end, because of the nature of the objectives which have been set, there is the danger that the United Nations, although it may not wish it, is leading to the imposition of a political settlement and is, therefore, going against the resolutions which have been passed to govern its activities.

Her Majesty's Government feel that in these circumstances the right course is to ask the Secretary-General for a ceasefire, to do his utmost, as his predecessor did in the September operations, to put an end to the fighting. We believe that the destruction of life and property should be brought to an end. The Secretary-General himself made an eloquent plea for conciliation at the end of the Security Council meeting on 24th November. Moreover, he referred to it again in his statement on Sunday night after the matter had been discussed with him.

We therefore believe it right to make a further great effort to resolve this peacefully. The Amendment tabled by the Leader of the Liberal Party sets out certain ways in which this can be done. We do not want to specify at this moment how the cease-fire ought to be brought about. We want the initiative to be taken to bring it about, but we are doing our utmost with those concerned at the same time to bring Mr. Adoula and Mr. Tshombe together

Nobody in the House can be happy about the situation in the Congo. It may be that many observers see strange paradoxes in the House of Commons today. We are putting forward a Motion for a cease-fire, which the Labour Party cannot accept. There are hon. Members who think that the Government ought not to have been so reluctant about their decision regarding the bombs for which the United Nations asked. There are hon. Members opposite who have supported secession in other quarters in Africa but who are very strongly opposed to the mention of secession in the Congo. We believe it right that there should not be secession, but the most important fact facing us at the moment is that it is in the interests both of the Congo and of Katanga for them to come together.

There can be no prosperity or even viability for the Congo without Katanga. There can be no permanent arrangement or stability for Katanga if the rest of the Congo is starved and in chaos. Therefore, it is fundamentally in the interests of both to come together. We must persuade them to do that. I do not believe that it is possible to bring that about by force.

We therefore want the United Nations to return to the peaceful purpose with which most people associate it. Most people regret that it should at the moment be in these circumstances. Her Majesty's Government support the United Nations, as I have tried to show. We have been consistent in our policy in supporting the Congo operation. We have rightly expressed our criticisms when we have had them, and when we have had our doubts, we have expressed those, too. Throughout, however, we have supported the course of a peaceful settlement of differences. The task now is for the United Nations to restore peace to the Congo in order to achieve a political settlement.

What is necessary to achieve that is a cease-fire and negotiations. We are calling upon the Secretary-General of the United Nations to arrange it. We will do our utmost for our part to give him every assistance in so doing. Her Majesty's Government believe their actions to be right and I ask the House to support them.

4.31 p.m.

Mr. Harold Wilson (Huyton)

I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof while urging that every effort should be made to establish a united Congo by agreement, regrets that Her Majesty's Government by their equivocal and vacillating policies have thrown the gravest doubt upon their willingness genuinely to support the efforts of the United Nations to restore law and order and prevent civil war in the Congo, thus bringing the name of Britain into disrepute and making it more difficult for the United Nations forces, including Commonwealth troops, to fulfil their difficult mission. Nothing in the speech of the Lord Privy Seal has done anything to detract from the record of Her Majesty's Government over the whole sorry story of the past eighteen months, a record of manoeuvring, of frustrating resolutions, when they have not been men enough to oppose those resolutions in public. That is our charge.

In the whole speech of the Lord Privy Seal this afternoon, the wriggling and quibbling about what happened last weekend, about his unfortunate reference to something he had read, or thought he had read, in the newspapers, all his wriggling and manoeuvring this afternoon, the whole slanted line which he has put forward about events in the Congo and the attempt always to discredit the United Nations actions in the Congo—although all this was confident and defiant in tone, the content and inspiration of it was no more than an abject surrender to hon. Members opposite who sit below the Gangway.

The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that, especially over the events of the past two weeks, he has been surrendering to the views of hon. Members behind him with whom the Government cannot in their hearts agree, but whom they dare not stand up to. That is our charge. I hope shortly to produce a little evidence in support of it.

The Motion moved by the right hon. Gentleman seeks support for a proposal for a cease-fire, a proposal for which, so far, Her Majesty's Government have got the backing of hardly a single fellow member of the United Nations. That makes it look a little odd, does it not? Oh, yes, South Africa and Portugal. South Africa, Portugal, France and Belgium. The Prime Minister always wanted to lead a group in the world. He is leading one now. That is what he became Prime Minister to achieve.

The fact that hardly a single member of the United Nations takes this proposal from the Lord Privy Seal seriously is sufficient comment on the remarks he threw across the Floor of the House about whether this side wanted to see a genuine end to the fighting in the Congo. [HON. MEMBERS: "Does the right hon. Gentleman?"] I shall make my speech in my own way and hon. Members, no doubt, will listen to it. The contempt with which this appeal has been turned down even by Mr. Tshombe and his Ministers and by his chief of staff is sufficient answer to the kind of remarks that the right hon. Gentleman has made.

Yesterday, on the tape, under the heading, "Britain alone on Katanga ceasefire call", I read: A Foreign Office spokesman made it clear today that the call for a cease-fire in Katanga being pit to U Thant, the United Nations Secretary-General, is being made in the name of the British Government. He knew of no common appeal. The plain truth is that the cease fire for which the Government are asking is not in the Congo. The cease-fire which they want is from the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke). It is because of that, and, because of the threats they received last Monday morning, that the Government are now indulging in this manoeuvre, which, in the United Nations and in world opinion, means that this country stands practically alone.

Sir Robert Grimston (Westbury)

Not for the first time.

Mr. Wilson

Not for the first time, as the hon. Member says. In 1940, the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) could end his stirring message of resistance to Hitler with the words, "if necessary, alone".

Since then, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, we have twice stood alone. Five years ago, over Suez, we earned the world's ostracism. Today, we merely earn the world's contempt. Even the B.B.C., which is not the most impartial purveyor of news where Her Majesty's Government are concerned, this morning had to admit that our representatives in the United Nations were being cut and snubbed by their fellow members in the United Nations. [Laughter.] Hon. Members opposite may have different standards, but we on this side bitterly resent it—this is not a matter for laughter, and hon. Members in their hearts know it—when we see this country's name dragged in the mud over a political manœuvre of this kind.

Before I come to my main indictment, let me try to summarise at least one or two points where there may be some degree of common ground. It is necessary to do this because the Lord Privy Seal and the Prime Minister, earlier this week, have tried to cloud the issue by stating certain obvious truths in such a way as to suggest that we disagreed with them.

First, of course, we all want to see the fighting stop. There cannot be any disagreement about that. We want a cease-fire, provided that it is a ceasefire which this time, unlike the last one, will be respected and carried out. The last one was not. It was interesting to notice that yesterday the United States Government, with the authority of the President, made exactly the same point that they will go for a cease-fire when there is some assurance that it can be carried out. That was said yesterday by the American Under-Secretary.

Secondly, all of us agree—I have said this before and the Lord Privy Seal will accept it—that the solution of the Congo problem that we all want to see must be a negotiated one. It will require conciliation. It must involve the consent and the good will of the Congo. Both sides agree about that. It cannot be imposed militarily, and no one has suggested that it can. It is a complete red herring which the right hon. Gentleman keeps throwing. Equally, the conditions for negotiation and conciliation cannot he created as long as peace is jeopardised by the unlawful operations of the mercenaries referred to in the United Nations resolution of 24th November, a resolution which, in fact, went through the Security Council with no vote recorded to the contrary.

We have seen what has happened. I hoped that it would not be necessary to say this, but in view of the right hon. Gentleman's remarks perhaps I have to. We in the Labour Party abominate any action which involves the death of innocent civilians We always have done. We opposed the bombing of women and children at Suez five years ago, against the active opposition of practically all right hon. and hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite, and it was nauseating that the right hon. Gentleman, who, at that time, was Chief Whip, getting the United Nations' supporters in the Conservative Party into the Lobby in support of the Suez operations, should come along this afternoon and make the kind of remarks that he has done. How hypocritical can right hon. Gentlemen be?

I do not intend today, in general, to go back to the events which preceded our last foreign affairs debate, because they were fully debated a few weeks ago, but perhaps it is worth repeating one obvious truth, on which I think the whole House would agree and which in all this welter of in-fighting, military and political, of organised and unorganised confusion and of charges and counter-charges is a truth which can too quickly be forgotten—namely, how much of the responsibility for the present state of affairs rests with those who, in the long decades of colonialism, failed to bring the Congolese people forward into the light, to train and fit them, administratively and technically for the responsibilities which were bound to fall upon them? Without being smug or complacent, I do not think that any of us can fail to point to the contrast between the Congo and the day of their hand-over eighteen months ago and the events leading to the independence of Tanganyika last weekend.

The Lord Privy Seal referred to some charges that have been made. Ten days ago, Dr. O'Brien, on resigning from the United Nations service, made very serious charges against the Government, accusing them of working to frustrate United Nations decisions to which they were a party. My case today is not based on the charges of Dr. O'Brien. He will no doubt—indeed, he must—formulate his allegations and produce his evidence, and we shall then demand that the Government produce an equally detailed and specific reply to those charges. Some might say that Dr. O'Brien has lived through months of hell in the Congo and that the frustrations he has met have led him to pitch his charges in extravagant terms. I do not know. We have not seen the charges fully formulated.

Certainly, all of us have a great respect for this international administrator and the fact that his charges have been supported by an experienced general, the United Nations Commander-in-Chief, and by Mr. Nehru, who must have received reports from Mr. Dayal and Brigadier Raja, calls for an answer. These charges come on top of the suspicions which the Government have generated by their own actions and they have fed suspicions which existed in many parts of the world long before Dr. O'Brien broke his silence. For the Foreign Office, as it did last week, to treat these charges as the outpourings of an obscure private person of whom it had no need to take any cognisance, is highly dangerous for Britain's reputation.

It was rightly said in an article in the Guardian last week that, before the bar of world opinion, the old British rule that one is innocent until proved guilty does not hold, and that there is, in fact, a prejudice against all colonial and ex-colonial Powers. In my view, in view of Britain's record in bringing in so many countries to self-government, that particular prejudice is highly unfair, but, nevertheless, the prejudice is there, and it has been unnecessarily and wantonly turned into open hostility. We have been branded as an old-fashioned colonial and imperial Power, simply because the Government have smirched our reputation by their actions over Angola and South West Africa. Suspicions were already built up by this kind of action. Before the events of the past three weeks, there has been a whole series of actions which have thrown doubt on our position.

The right hon. Gentleman has gone some way to explain one or two things this afternoon, and I was very interested in what he said about the Ethiopian aircraft. This is something we have twice debated in the House in two very full debates on the Congo question, and it is not until sometime after that the right hon. Gentleman can bethink himself of an answer to these very serious charges which were causing suspicion all over the world. We ought to have had those answers.

Mr. Heath

I know that the right hon. Gentleman has come to his new post only recently, but I answered that question in the House very fully. I stated that the overflying rights were granted but the planes were not available for another five days.

Mr. Wilson

I know that, but that does not explain the whole story of these events. The right hon. Gentleman put the whole responsibility on the then Secretary-General of the United Nations. The New York Times London correspondent reported a Foreign Office source as saying: Our idea was to stop the 'escalation' of fighting. If there had been more planes there on one side or the other, it might have turned into a different kind of war". Therefore, it is a very different kind of explanation from that we have had this afternoon, that the Government were holding the balance between the United Nations, on the one hand, and Katanga, on the other.

Mr. Heath

I know that the right hon. Gentleman wants to be fair. Lord Lansdowne put this to Mr. Hammarskjold at Elisabethville directly he received the request from New York that there was a danger, at the time he was trying to organise a cease-fire, that if these planes came in there would be an escalation of the air war. Was it not better for everyone to try to get everyone to ground the aeroplane which was in action, rather than run this risk? Mr. Hammarskjold gave his decision, and we gave the overflying rights for the aircraft.

Mr. Wilson

It has taken us six weeks to get the explanation we have been given this afternoon. Many of my hon. Friends who pressed the right hon. Gentleman on this will confirm that he would not deal with this point in the previous debate. There was the question of Lord Lansdowne's visit to the Congo, on which there is still a fairly big degree of mystery. We have been told very little, except that when Lord Lansdowne returned he described the United Nations' action as outrageous—a phrase which he later qualified but did not withdraw.

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will tell us what action the Government have taken with regard to finding the origin of the bomb-equipped planes which reinforced the Katanga forces, especially the planes of German make. Have the Government confirmed reports that these planes flew from Munich via French and Portuguese airfields? There is a specific charge about that. If this is the case, did the Government protest in Bonn about these planes being sent from Munich for the purpose of fighting against the United Nations in Katanga?

Again, we have the strange failure of the Lord Privy Seal to answer repeated questions, put to him by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) on 2nd November, whether or no the Government regarded the ceasefire as binding on Katanga. We also have the strange fact of the right hon. Gentleman's subsequent failure to condemn breaches of the cease-fire. There was his strange silence when I asked him last week about Her Majesty's Vice-Consul at Elisabethville, whether he was, as was suggested in The Times, a member of the External Affairs Department of the Central African Federation. I do not complain if there was a Vice-Consul who was doing purely consular services for Rhodesian citizens.

That is one of the points which the right hon. Gentleman must answer, and which I hope the Prime Minister will answer clearly tonight. Will he give us an assurance that at no time did this Vice-Consul, or any other consular official in Elisabethville, meet Mr. Tshombe and give him any assurance, real or implied, of any support from this country in resistance to the United Nations forces? I hope that we shall get an answer from the Government this evening, because it is very important that this should be absolutely clear.

Mr. Heath

There are so many strange things that apparently I have not answered. The right hon. Gentleman asked only once about the Consul and he said, "Central African Republic". I admit that I must have been a little dense. I did not realise at that time that he was referring to the Central African Federation. It is perfectly true that the Consul is a member of the External Affairs Department of the Central African Federation. It was an arrangement made before the Congo achieved independence and it has been continued with the full knowledge of the central Government at Leopoldville. The last one, Mr. Smith, has return to Salisbury and a replacement will be sent in due course, in the normal way. It is a very convenient arrangement, and has been for some time now, on account of the close relationship between Katanga and the Copperbelt in Northern Rhodesia.

Mr. Wilson

I am sure that it is a highly convenient—[HON. MEMBERS: "Copper bottom."]—arrangement. It is generally convenient to tourists and visitors and others, apart from those whose interests my hon. Friends may have in mind. What we want to know is whether the Consul has any political activities or carried any political messages from Sir Roy Welensky or someone else to Mr. Tshombe affecting the conduct of affairs in the Congo. We should like to have a full report on this from the Prime Minister later today.

Now we come to the events of the past three weeks. First, there was the resolution of the Security Council of 24th November which provides the authority for the present military action. This resolution authorises the Secretary-General to take vigorous action, including the use of a requisite measure of force, if necessary, for the immediate apprehension of all foreign military and para-military personnel and political advisers not under the United Nations command, and mercenaries, as laid down in paragraph A-2 of the Security Council Resolution of February 21st, 1961. This was carried by nine votes to nil, Britain and France abstaining. Why did Britain abstain?

The reasons, or alleged reasons, were given by our representative in the Security Council, but we have not been told clearly by the right hon. Gentleman why instructions were given to our representative—not to oppose this resolution, because the Government did not have the guts to oppose it against other members of the Security Council—to make sufficient reservations so that the Government would be able to quote them afterwards. The Lord Privy Seal again and again—and he did so today—has tried to ride off that with the argument that we must not use force to impose a political settlement. This is not the issue here. This is not an operation to impose a political settlement.

Of course, there must be conciliation, and of course, there must be a political solution within the loi fondamentale of the Congo, and of course such a political solution cannot and should not be imposed by military means. That is not in question, either with us or with the United Nations or, as far as I know, with nations which support the United Nations. But conciliation and a political solution are impossible as long as the foreign mercenaries are operating in Katanga.

I go further. It is very much open to doubt whether Mr. Tshombe is in any sense himself in control in Katanga. On 28th August he placed his hand on his heart and said that all foreign mercenaries had been dismissed. This is manifestly untrue. One must ask how far he is master in Katanga. For many weeks there have been strong signs that the gendarmerie, itself controlled by the mercenaries, plays a decisive role, sometimes overruling Mr. Tshombe himself. During the past weeks two of his Ministers, Munango and Kibwe have had an important difference with Mr. Tshombe and have used that influence with the gendarmerie to stiffen Mr. Tshombe when he has appeared to move towards reconciliation.

There have been times, such as on the occasion of the kidnapping of Major Singh, when the gendarmerie have seemed to be independent even of Munango. The power of the mercenaries and their inflammatory actions in stirring up the gendarmerie have reached the point when even Mr. Tshombe's Commander-in-Chief, General Moke, has been afraid to enter the gendarmerie camps. The massacre of tribesmen in North Katanga gives the lie to the sweet, soothing public relations handouts about Katanga as a garden of peace and law and order. These doubts which I have expressed have been confirmed by General McKeown, this week. The Lord Privy Seal will see it if he looks into the accurate report of what General McKeown said and not the particular kind of report which the right hon. Gentleman favours in this matter.

As to the actual outbreak of fighting, two versions have been given. First, there has been that of the United Nations, also supported by the United States, and there has been the Tshombe-Heath version which we have had in the House. It is significant how slanted in favour of the Tshombe view have been the statements of the Lord Privy Seal from the moment that fighting started. He will probably tell us that he had that in good faith from Her Majesty's Consul in Elisabethville. But in every one of his statements since the fighting began he has blindly ignored the need to get the mercenaries out of the way, and he keeps trying to suggest that the United Nations is trying to impose a political solution.

The right hon. Gentleman went so far as to suggest—and this is a dangerous remark—that because Britain made reservations in the debate on the resolution of 24th November we were to the extent of those reservations not bound to co-operate in the implementation of the resolution. It is a dangerous view to put forward, to suggest that it a country made qualifications in the debate but did not oppose a resolution it was to the extent of the reservations entitled not to implement any duties that fell upon it. Her Majesty's Government, as loyal members of the United Nations, are bound by that decision whatever reservation is expressed by the Government.

Article 25 of the Charter states clearly that The members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter. There is nothing about any reservations, and there are no footnotes that one can add in connection with this.

The Lord Privy Seal, in the account that he has given us of the particular representations made to the Secretariat, has virtually admitted this afternoon that the Government have successively—and yesterday in asking for the cease-fire—been in breach of Article 100 of the Charter in trying to interfere with the Secretariat in carrying out its duties.

The terminology of Article 100 is quite clear: Each member of the United Nations undertakes to respect the exclusively international character of the responsibilities of the Secretary-General and the staff and not to seek to influence them in the discharge of their responsibilities. Is it not a fact that the Government, time after time, have complained that this is what the Russians are always doing? Now we have had it from Her Majesty's Government over the past few weeks.

We did not oppose the resolution. I want the Prime Minister to tell us whether he accepts that the resolution of the United Nations is binding on this country, whether or not we voted for it. I should have thought that Article 25 was quite clear. So, indeed, was the statement made only six weeks ago in the Gracious Speech: My Government will continue to give resolute support to the United Nations. They believe it to be essential for the future of the world that the authority of this organisation should be sustained, and that it should be enabled to carry out the tasks assigned to it under its Charter. Did the Prime Minister believe those words when they were composed? Why has he been acting in complete defiance of them during the six weeks since the new Session of Parliament was opened? [HON. MEMBERS: "He has not"] Of course he has.

I now return to the request for the bombs. We have been told today when the request was first made, but not why the Government delayed so long before a decision was reached. A week ago the Government were smoked out, and this brought to a head what was already becoming clear—the growing divergence between British and United States policies and between British policy and those of some of the leading members of the Commonwealth. After receiving assurances about the strictly military uses to which the bombs would be put—which the Government were perfectly entitled to request—

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)

What the right hon. Gentleman is saying is of the greatest importance. I shall come to this later. Will he repeat what he has said?

Mr. Wilson

I will say it again. The right hon. Gentleman has a piece of paper, and he can take my words down. But all this still does not explain what was said on Monday. After securing assurances that the bombs would be limited to dealing with pirate aircraft and the strips from which they operate, the Government gave their assent, quite clearly, last Friday. There was no equivocation about it.

The Prime Minister

It was on Thursday night.

Mr. Wilson

The decision was announced on Friday.

Perhaps the Prime Minister will tell us the whole story. He will not disagree when I say that it was announced unequivocally that the Government had given their consent, subject to the assurances that had been given about the use of the bombs. It was being widely put about—and I am quite prepared to accept repudiation of this particular statement—that the Government were whispering to their rebel back benchers last Monday that the purpose of asking for the assurances was to secure a negative response from the United Nations so that the Government could then refuse to supply the bombs. That had been assiduously put about on Monday morning. I understand that the Suez Group was going about saying that the Government had been too clever by half.

It was, in any case, the unexpected acceptance by the United Nations which led to the decision to let the bombs go. Then, over the weekend, the Katanga lobby mobilised. In addition to its activities, which were not inconsiderable, Sir Roy Welensky produced a thunderous but highly improper intervention in this matter. Amongst other things, he appealed to the British people to rise up and reverse their Government's policy. While the British people, on the whole, remained calm, Sir Roy's supporters in this House staged a revolt.

On Monday, we got an abject surrender by the Government on the thinnest and most implausible grounds that I have ever heard. Seizing on these totally inaccurate reports of statements attributed to Dr. Linner and General McKeown, the Government said that the general situation must be clarified before the bombs could be released. Let us look at that flimsy excuse. First, there is Dr. Linner's interview. Dr. Linner was misreported in Friday's Swedish newspaper Expressen. Since then, not only Dr. Linner but the newspaper and the reporter and also the Secretary-General himself have confirmed that he was misreported.

One would have thought that we would have had an apology from the Lord Privy Seal. The statement from the reporter and the newspaper appeared with an appropriate apology on Tuesday last. No doubt the Foreign Office will be receiving copies of it by about the weekend. As the Lord Privy Seal knows, and as he has admitted today, the statement to which he referred on Monday was repudiated in Sunday's paper.

Mr. Heath


Mr. Wilson

Why did not the right hon. Gentleman say so on Monday? Why did he refer only to Friday's statement, which was inaccurate, without saying anything about the fact that on Sunday there was an entirely different statement?

Mr. Heath

I have already said today that when I answered, in closing, the Leader of the Opposition, I had not seen any repudiation of the statement. I had not seen Sunday's report. [HON. MEMBERS "Why?"] Because it did not reach me until Monday evening, and when it did reach me it was not in the form of a denial of what had been said by Dr. Linner, but in the form of a fresh statement. The part which we later learned was published in the Swedish Press was only half of this statement. I have further studied it, of course, and I accept everything that Dr. Linner, the reporter and the newspaper have since said. But what I said was in good faith and according to the knowledge I had.

Mr. Wilson

If the right hon. Gentleman says that he had not seen Sunday's newspaper on Monday, then, of course, we accept it, but what is the Foreign Office doing? Is he telling us that the "go-slow" has started already in the Foreign Office?

Immediately after the right hon. Gentleman's statement on Monday, an official of Transport House got from Sweden in three hours the fact of the statement in Sunday's newspapers. If Transport House can get the truth in three hours, why does the Foreign Office take 36 hours to get an untruth? Even on Tuesday afternoon the Prime Minister was still casting doubt on the extent to which the original statement had been repudiated. The Guardian said today: In more scrupulous days, Mr. Heath would by now have resigned, although the responsibility is not his alone. As for General McKeown, every report except that quoted by the Lord Privy Seal gives a totally different impression. I have seen the full report, as, I hope, the Lord Privy Seal has by this time. If he has not, I would be glad to send him a copy. When he receives it, I think that he will agree that the report could not possibly bear the interpretation he has put on it. This is what we get from Ministers who are always warning hon. Members not to believe all that they read in the newspapers. That is why we must ask why the House was misled.

It is obvious what happened. On Monday morning the Government knew that if they went on with their decision about the bombs they were in danger of a major revolt extending to half their party. They thus snatched at any excuse. A crowd of Ministers sat there reading every newspaper they could find to try to find a little cutting which would justify their reversing the decision. This is not my imagination. I go for my facts on the real reasons for this reversal to the fountainhead himself, the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South. I accept him not only as a witness of the truth but as a witness who knows what he is talking about in this matter. He was interviewed on Independent Television on Monday, and I have seen the script. It says: Interviewer: Why do you think the Government did change its mind? Lord Hinchingbrooke. What about? Sending the bombs? Interviewer: Yes. Lord Hinchingbrooke: I should think that they had a very strong expression of opinion from the Conservative Party throughout Westminster and in the country over the week-end, and when the Conservative Party is united and determined not to have something the Government are obliged to give way. Interviewer: Do you think they have given way completely and that these bombs will never go to the United Nations? Lord Hinchingbrooke: I think you can safely trust that they will not go. Certainly not in these circumstances. There was not a word there about either Dr. Linner or General McKeown. The noble Lord was realistic. He gave us the facts. We know him and respect him. He is not given to exaggerated claims. He is not a political paranoic. He was giving, with the frankness we expect of him, a blunt description of the power system in his own party. He, unlike the Government—if I can still flatter them with that title in view of the way they are being pushed around—made no attempt to produce irrelevant or false evidence.

I agree with him that the Government knew on Monday that these bombs were not going. The Government were entitled to ask for assurances about the military use of the bombs. As the Government had for so long evaded any admission that they were bound to grant facilities legitimately required by the United Nations, and went on doing so up to Thursday, it was all the more desirable that they should return an affirmative answer, provided that they got the assurances about military use, because that answer was by this time required to satisfy the world that the Government still had some regard for their obligations to the United Nations.

The last act of this sorry and tragic story is the Motion. Frankly, nobody takes it seriously outside this country. It has one object—to meet opposition amongst Government back benchers. In that it appears to have succeeded, but only at a heavy price in terms of our standing with our allies and in the world. It is a hollow proposal, not meant seriously by the Government, and the reaction to it abroad shows that no one else takes it seriously either.

Mr. Stephen Hastings (Mid-Bedfordshire)


Mr. Wilson

I shall not give way. Members opposite can give orders to the Government, but they cannot give orders to the Opposition.

The final result of the decision incorporated in the Motion was that the Secretary-General yesterday finally cancelled the request for the bombs, and he cancelled it with contempt. U Thant knows now that he cannot count on Britain. It is even said now that he has been told that the Government cannot guarantee to hold their rebels on the question of payment of the Congo contribution to the United Nations. I do not know whether the Prime Minister himself knows if he can hold the position on that. One of the things which weighed with U Thant was doubt even about Britain's continued membership of the United Nations in view of this surrender.

This is a terrible time for this sort of thing to be happening. This week should have seen a united West deciding on vitally necessary negotiations on Berlin. The Prime Minister has been silent for some weeks about his views on negotiations on Berlin. He was obviously casting himself—and we do not object—for the rôle of honest broker in those negotiations. That is quite right, and it seemed that the United States and Britain were in some measure of agreement about Berlin. But the right hon. Gentleman must realise that the honest broker needs to bring clean hands to his mission.

The Prime Minister must realise that he needs the confidence of his partners and allies. Can he say that he has that confidence as a result of his handling of the Congo situation? Has it struck him that the really ominous thing in the past week has been the almost deafening silence of Russia? If we believe in a united Congo, how can we prevent Russian moves to encourage the secession of perhaps some other province if we appear to be half-hearted in relation to the secession of Katanga?

If mercenaries are not to be removed from Katanga, and other mercenaries pour into another province from Eastern Europe—they would be called volunteers and might come from China or Albania or Russia—would Members opposite support action to remove them? This is the danger with which the Government are gambling in playing politics in this matter.

Finally, I turn to the steps which need urgently to be taken, and they will not be so easy to take now as they might have been a few weeks ago. First, the Government must show that they are determined to govern and repudiate the doctrines and pressures of the Katanga lobby below the Gangway and behind them. The House is familiar with the old "Suez Group". We know that only the slightest stimulus is needed to bring out in them their old built-in atavistic reflexes—Suez, Cyprus, Kenya, Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia and now the Congo. [An HON. MEMBER: "Stick to finance"] The hon. Member invites me to go back to finance. I am coming to that in a moment. There is a lot of finance in this business, some rather seamy, sordid aspects of finance. But perhaps the hon. Member will allow me to reach that in my own way and in my own time.

Before I do that, I want to remind hon. Members of what is involved. In 1955, Mr. Philip Bell, then a Conservative Member of Parliament, asked leave under the Ten Minutes Rule to introduce a Bill and I quote from its Title: …to provide that persons who give aid and comfort or adhere to the enemies of the United Nations shall, if the armed forces of the Queen are operating with the United Nations, be deemed guilty of treason. A co-sponsor of the Bill was the present Civil Lord of the Admiralty. Leave to introduce the Bill was challenged, but it was carried on a Division. For the Bill there voted the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South and the bulk of his present supporters, from the hon. Member for Westbury (Sir R. Grimston) right down to the hon. and gallant Member for Knutsford (Sir W. Bromley-Davenport).

Let me remind the noble Lord, who voted for that Bill only six years ago, that Nigerian armed forces, forces of the Queen, are operating with the United Nations and it was then suggested that anyone who gave aid and comfort to those enemies was committing treason. I should also mention that in the Lobby—and it is not usual for Ministers to vote for a Ten-Minute Bill—was the then Minister of Defence, the present Prime Minister. [HON. MEMBERS: "He is not listening."] The right hon. Gentleman can read it in the Swedish newspapers over the wekend.

The second thing the Government must do is to dissociate themselves in these matters from the pressures of Sir Roy Welensky. Despite his denial, there is still a strong suspicion that his ultimate aim is a union of Katanga and the Rhodesias. I have stated in the House that the constitutional position of Sir Roy Welensky is that he has no responsibility for matters of foreign affairs. The Government must also recognise that the Commonwealth does not revolve around Sir Roy, or even around his country. Cecil Rhodes has been dead these sixty years. It is a wider Commonwealth now, a Commonwealth of equals and a multi-racial Commonwealth.

But if the day of Rhodes is buried with the past, so is the day of the charter company, of powerful corporations who regard themselves as being above the law, as a State within a State, as a State above any national or international disciplines. This is the problem—the influence, in Africa and here in London, the power, highly organised and secretly and subtly exercised of powerful and unscrupulous corporations, notably Union Minière and Tanganyika Concescessions and, linked with them, the British South Africa Company.

Let no one under-rate the power of these pressures which have been brought to bear, directly or indirectly, on Westminster. They permeate the Establishment—£145 million of assets, with their full power mobilised and deployed against the United Nations. It would take me far too long this afternoon to name all the distinguished persons presently or previously linked with those countries, including a leading figure in the Institute of Directors, noble Lords in another place, lords far from political cyphers, ex-Ministers and, until they became Ministers, more than one Member from the present Government, including one of Her Majesty's Secretaries of State—and a member of the blood Macmillan at that.

All money talks and big money talks loudest of all. I wish that we had the Leader of the House here—

Mr. John Biggs-Davison (Chigwell)


Mr. Wilson

—as Chairman of the Conservative Party. Could he stand with his hand on his heart and say that none of these companies contributed to Tory Party election funds at the last General Election?

There is one thing we do know. They have hired an expensive and glossy firm of public relations counsellors to handle their propaganda, headed by the former chief of the propaganda department of the Conservative Central Office, a gentleman who also handles the account of Portugal in this country, on the Angola question, and also that of Spain, who boats of his contacts among Ministers and whom the Daily Mail interviewed for an article on Wednesday. Explaining the whole thing away, he said: Well, you see, there I was on holiday in Spain with Selwyn Lloyd— in passing I should like to know how many other Ministers have gone to Spain by his arrangement— when Charles Waterhouse rang me up and asked me if I would take on the job… and so it went on for a whole page.

Does anyone think that this public relations firm, out of 200 such firms in the country has so much expertise that it was given this job not because of its contacts with hon. and right hon. Members opposite? We want to know how much influence all this money and advertising commands. It is an extraordinary commentary on our democracy that Captain Waterhouse should now have far more influence over public policy when he is outside the House than he ever had as a Member. Do not the Government now realise what this means for our image abroad and how urgent it is that they repudiate these pressures?

We have all said—the Security Council has said—that the immediate bar to peace and settlement in the Congo is the Katanga mercenaries. I have mentioned their power. They include some tough and unscrupulous fighters, among them some of the worst type of Algerian ultras. We shall not have peace until they are returned to the squalid purlieus from which they should never have been allowed to emerge.

Who pays these mercenaries? Does any one think for a moment that they could last for a week in Katanga if Union Minière and the companies associated with it withheld finance and other support from their paymasters? The Government should send for the financiers who owe British allegiance and instruct them now to withhold all further finance, including the taxes which they are illegally paying to Mr. Tshombe.

In the long run, Central Africa will be a healthier and safer place when economic groups which arrogate such power to themselves are internationalised and placed under the control of some responsible and independent authority.

Mr. Biggs-Davison


Mr. Wilson

Finally, I call on the Government to assert unequivocally, and to make this the issue of confidence with their own supporters, that they will now accept the United Nations resolutions and back them to the full extent of their power.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

The right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) is a fair man and he is a Socialist. When he is discussing the great financial interests who may be interested in these affairs, would he like to complete the record and say something about the Transatlantic copper interests and certain elements on Wall Street who are also interested? Surely as a Socialist and as an Englishman he should say something about those things as well.

Mr. Wilson

I should be delighted to have all that the hon. Member for Chigwell (Mr. Biggs-Davison) can tell me about those firms, but no one has yet alleged that they have tried to influence hon. Members through engaging public relations firms and in other improper ways.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Their influence is in the United Nations.

Mr. Wilson

Finally, I do not take quite so Marxist an interpretation of these things as does the noble Lord. To all except those who share the views of hon. Members opposite—and I hope that the Government Front Bench will accept this—the future of the world depends not only on the survival of the United Nations, but on its development in prestige and power to the point where world government begins to become a reality.

In a defence debate six years ago, the then Minister of Defence, now the Prime Minister, said some very wise words which I will now repeat. It happens that they were said in the context of disarmament, but the words are of a wider application: The control must provide effective international, or if we like supranational, authority invested with real power. Hon. Members may say that this is elevating the United Nations, or whatever may be the authority, into something like world government. Be it so, it is none the worse for that. In the long run this is the only way out for mankind."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd March, 1955; Vol. 537, c. 2181.] I agree with the right hon. Gentleman. I believe that those words embody a permanent, indeed, a transcendental truth.

What is at stake in this debate is not only the future of the Congo and the restoration of peace in that shattered and distracted country, it is not only the good name of this country throughout the world and with it our ability to give what I believe is our unique contribution to peace, it is also the immediate survival and then the growth and development of an international authority on which millions of citizens of the world have pinned their hopes. In that sense, above all, this is an historic debate.

There is, therefore, a heavy responsibility on hon. Members. There is an even heavier responsibility on the Government. We have seen this week that they have not been able to cling to the policy to which I am sure they would have wished to have clung, because they do not have control over the party which is supposed to support them in the House. When a Government no longer have the power to govern and when they are in pawn to a group of imperious and irresponsible back benchers, they owe one last debt to the country. There is now only one honourable course left to them. A Government who put this country above party and peace above power would take that course and resign.

5.28 p.m.

Mr. R. H. Turton (Thirsk and Malton)

The right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) has just delivered himself of an inaccurate and hypocritical speech. He asked how hypocritical right hon. Gentlemen could be, but I ask the Socialist Party if it sees where he is leading it in its foreign policy. He said that he believed in a multi-racial Commonwealth. So do hon. Members on this side of the House. He knows perfectly well that only if European and African can live together and work together and build up industries together in Africa will there be peace and order in Africa.

The right hon. Gentleman talked about lobbies. I am surprised that a Yorkshireman who absconded to Lancashire should use American terms. We have a lobby, and it is a very good one. It reports what we say openly in the House, and what we say privately in private committees. That is our parliamentary system of lobbies. "Lobby" is an American term which is used in America, unfortunately, that is what happens in Congress, has happened in the past, and is happening now.

Mr. H. Wilson


Mr. Turton

The right hon. Gentleman must take some of his own medicine. I shall not give way to him during the course of this speech, because he would not give way to my hon. Friends. The right hon. Gentleman must know that the extensive military operations in the Congo today are attributed by many to the American "copper lobby". At a time when there is a surplus production of copper in the world, it is to the advantage of certain American interests to see that the copper mines in Katanga stop production, as indeed their production has been stopped within the last few days.

There is another interest which the right hon. Gentleman, who at the moment is an innocent in foreign affairs, must realise.

Mr. H. Rhodes (Ashton-under-Lyne)

It was a very good speech.

Mr. Turton

If that is the experience of the hon. Gentleman, I am surprised that he has changed since the last time we met in Hong Kong.

The Russians would dearly like to increase their supplies of copper. As I imagine the right hon. Gentleman knows, copper is one of the few metals in which Russia is not self-sufficient, and therefore it is to the interests of the Soviet that the Gizengist forces should have control of Katanga.

Those are the lobbies, and it is not in the interests of this country, or of the Labour Party, that the right hon. Gentleman should deliver that kind of speech.

Now let us come to the issue. I am surprised that the right hon. Gentleman has told us that the Labour Panty is not in favour of a cease-fire at the moment, and would be in favour of bombs being sent, with the restrictive purposes of the announcement last Friday. As the House knows, I am not in complete agreement with what has happened during the last eight days in London. I cannot understand, and having listened to the Lord Privy Seal today I still cannot understand, how he and the Government, who received a request on 21st October for 24 1,000 lb. blockbuster bombs, could have regarded them as being necessary for those aims which the Lord Privy Seal mentioned of the operations of the United Nations in Katanga.

I cannot understand why the Government, who received that request on 21st October and studied it until 7th December, did not realise in that interval of time that one does not use 1,000 lb. bombs, as my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Sir A. V. Harvey) put it at Question Time two days ago, for the purpose of destroying isolated aircraft or even air strips. I know that in the war bombs of 50 lb. or 100 lb. at most were used for immobilising air strips. Blockbuster bombs are designed for causing damage to large buildings, or causing heavy casualties among women and children.

The right hon. Gentleman, who said that he was opposed at that time to the operations at Suez, perpetrated a cruel and baseless slander on the Royal Air Force, which in those operations took particular care to see that civilian casualties were kept low. Now the same right hon. Gentleman supports the Government's decision, which I deplore, to send these blockbuster bombs to cause casualties among Africans.

I should like to ask the Lord Privy Seal another question. If the Government received that request for 24 1,000 lb. bombs on 21st October, and did not deal with the request until 7th December, why did they not, in the normal course of Commonwealth consultation, ask the Indian Government whether they had the bombs for the Canberras? We know from what Lord Dundee said in another place that two years ago the Indians were supplied with an ample quantity of 1,000 lb. bombs. What has happened to these bombs since then? Have they been dropped? Are they still in stock? Or was it perhaps that the Indian Government, like, I think, the vast majority of hon. Members in this House, and citizens in this country, would not tolerate such bombs being dropped in circumstances which would cause large casualties? I hope that we will get an answer to that, even though the Secretary-General of the United Nations has relieved us of the obligation to carry out the request. I still think that the House is not satisfied about all the details.

As to this Motion which the Government have tabled, I think that it is satisfactory in relation to the request for a cease-fire, but what they have not realised is what will happen if the request is refused. In his inaccurate speech the right hon. Member for Huyton said that our request for a ceasefire was backed by no member of the United Nations. He forgot that last night the N.A.T.O. Council, with the exception of one member, supported the request for a cease-fire. Why has that not come to the attention of the right hon Gentleman? It is not fair to say that no single ally supported it. The whole of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, except the United States, supported it.

Mr. Hugh Gaitskell (Leeds, South)

Does the right hon. Gentleman mean that a formal decision of the N.A.T.O. Council was taken supporting the United Kingdom proposal?

Mr. Turton

I am not saying that a formal decision was taken. I am saying that the N.A.T.O. Council made it quite clear in a communiqué issued last night—and if the right hon. Gentleman had taken the trouble he would have seen it on the tape—that it would have supported it, but the United States objected. Why do the United States object to a cease-fire at the moment?

Let us recapitulate. We have not heard what has been happening in Katanga in the last few days since the Government dealt with the request to which I have referred. The Prime Minister said earlier that it was on the Thursday night that the Government authorised the bombs to be collected. The next day the hospital was mortared and casualties were caused. I have here an eye-witness report of what happened on Sunday. It says: U.N. aircraft on Sunday…used rockets and machine-guns against the following installations…and the railway at Kolwezi…fuel oil tanks which are in flames; the high tension sub-power station feeding the factories of Luilu outside the city; the railway instal lations of BCK…the factories of METALKAT…and the residential quarter. In addition the hospital of the power station of Marinel situated in complete isolation in the bush 50 kilometres north of Kolwezi was also attacked. In these neighbourhoods, there was nothing which could be defined as a military objective. Is that really what the Opposition are supporting now? Is that the kind of thing they want to happen again? We know that the hospital at Jadotville has been bombed with many casualties in the maternity ward. Does that not revolt the consciences of those in the Socialist and Liberal parties? I agree that the Liberal Party supports the Government's request for a cease-fire, but subject, I think, to so many reservations as to make it not quite clear whether it would be granted. But the Opposition want these operations to be continued to the bitter, bitter end.

My present worry is that I am not quite satisfied that the Lord Privy Seal has made quite clear what is going to happen if the fighting goes on. I understand that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister intends to reply to the debate and I would inform him that my hon. Friends and I would like him to know—and I regret that the Prime Minister and the Lord Privy Seal are not here at the moment, but I hope that the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs will bring this to their notice—that we have certain doubts about the debate and that we were not satisfied with the Motion tabled by the Government.

In my experience of the House I have never known a time when, if a substantial body of hon. Members of the Government party put down a Motion, only one Joint Under-Secretary and one Assistant Whip were present to listen to the debate—[Interruption.] I know that the Joint Under-Secretary is always very courteous and accurate in the messages he passes on. I should like to tell the House—and the Government through him—that although I am very much in favour of the request for the cease-fire, I want more than that. I regret the decision the Government took last week when they agreed, with those reservations, to send the bombs. I think that, even now, they have not yet thought out what would happen if the request for a cease-fire was refused.

The Government should tonight give a clear undertaking that, if the fighting is going on at the end of this week, they will not provide any support—financial or otherwise, of a voluntary character—to the United Nations operations in the Congo.

Mr. Percy Collick (Birkenhead)

Up the rebels.

Mr. Turton

Is it so wrong to try to stop women and children being butchered? [HON. MEMBERS "Suez."] Why do hon. Gentleman say "Suez" and continue to attack British soldiers and airmen who took every opportunity open to them to avoid casualties in that particular operation? On this occasion, however, it is quite clear that the United Nations forces as well as—and we might as well admit this—some of Mr. Tshombe's forces, are now out of hand. It is up to all men of good will, hon. Members of both parties in this House and men in all countries, to try to stop this fighting.

If it does not stop we must use what methods we have. The only method I know available to us is this voluntary contribution to the operations in the Congo. That should be stopped after Saturday if there is no satisfactory conclusion. I urge the Government to take immediate steps—to use their initiative either through the United Nations or otherwise—to secure a meeting between President Tshombe and Prime Minister Adoula. I know that they have made efforts in the past but now is the time, before we get chaos complete in the Congo, for another determined effort to be made either by Her Majesty's Government or, perhaps, with their help, by some outstanding figure in the Commonwealth or in the United Nations.

This is not the time, when Africa is going up in flames, when chaos threatens and when no one except a few copper magnates or the Russians will benefit, to be playing party politics such as were played by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Huyton. I hope that the Prime Minister will make it clear—

Mr. A. V. Hilton (Norfolk, South-West)

Where is the Prime Minister?

Mr. Geoffrey Hirst (Shipley)

On a point of order. Is there any way you can guide me, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, as to how the House can show its displeasure at neither the Prime Minister nor the Lord Privy Seal being present?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker(Sir Gordon Touche)

That is not a point of order.

Mr. Turton

I would find it very difficult to go into the Lobby in support of Her Majesty's Government on this Motion unless I got a clear undertaking on two points which are clearly contained in the Amendment to the Government Motion which my hon. Friends and I placed upon the Order Paper but which, I regret, Mr. Speaker was not able to call. That Amendment proposed to add at the end: and urges Her Majesty's Government to make it clear that in the event of a refusal of this formal request, voluntary contributions by Her Majesty's Government for the maintenance of hostilities would cease forthwith; and furthermore urges Her Majesty's Government to take the initiative towards arranging a meeting between Prime Minister Adoula and President Tshombe for the purpose of furthering peace and stability in the Congo". This past week has been a bad one for the Government and for the United Nations. We must realise what are the aims of the United Nations. I believe in the United Nations and I want to see it work, but I know perfectly well that it cannot become involved in fights between a central and a provincial Government, because it was not designed for that purpose. I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bosworth (Mr. Wyatt) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Huyton that it is our duty to support the United Nations, right or wrong. If we feel that the action it is taking is not in conformity with resolutions that have been passed—and is not in conformity with its aims—it is our duty, as a nation, to take what action we can to bring it hack to its proper aims.

If that is not done we shall have anarchy in the world. I beg the Prime Minister, when he speaks tonight, to realise that there are many people of all political parties, both inside and outside the House, who are deeply disturbed at the decision he took on that Thursday night on the offer of bombs, at the happenings now in Katanga and at the parlous state in which the United Nations is in in the eyes of much of the world.

5.48 p.m.

Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)

In a debate on Katanga it is a considerable honour to follow the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton). On this matter his political activities have been considerably more consistent and very much more successful than those of the Government.

I wholly share his view that it seems extraordinary that at this stage neither the Prime Minister, the Lord Privy Seal, nor the Leader of the House is present. It is regrettable that they should not have listened to his speech when he has taken such a prominent part in this matter. I dare say, however, that my speech will be more effective addressed to him than to such a vacillating Government. So far, the Government have had the worst of all possible worlds and if the Lord Privy Seal is in any doubt that the world at large is suspicious of our loyalty to the United Nations I do not think his speech this afternoon will have done anything to improve the situation.

To take one case. He tells us again and again that the Government are not in favour of force in Katanga but they were in support of the current operation. They proposed to supply 24 1,000-lb. bombs. To say that one is not in favour of force and then to say that one is prepared to supply 1,000-lb. bombs to carry on operations is clearly meaningless. I do not want to go over the history of the matter again but I share the astonishment that the Government took five or six days considering whether to supply this weapon or not. They must have been advised that it was an extraordinary weapon to destroy aircraft on the ground. Then after consideration they decided not to supply it.

Mr. Turton

It was six weeks or even longer.

Mr. Grimond

Yes, weeks. They then came to the conclusion in two days that they should not supply the bombs and they asked the House to believe that the reason why they changed their minds was an obscure speech made by Dr. Linner. Our Embassy in Sweden did not even bother to report the correction to it to the Foreign Office so little importance did they attach to it. We know why they changed their minds. The noble Lord has told us. They were afraid of a section of the Conservative Party. The whole episode throws discredit on the Government, and I do not wonder that our whole position in the United Nations has become more suspect than ever. The final result is that we are at loggerheads with the United States at the very moment when we are desperately trying to form a common policy on Berlin.

Like the right hon. Gentleman, I too am a strong supporter of the United Nations. I believe, for one thing, that it is the most hopeful way in which we shall get the emergent nations to take some responsibility in world affairs. It is the only embryo world authority that we have. It is a meeting place for East and West. Finally, things would have been worse in the Congo had the United Nations not taken a hand.

Having said that, I cannot say that I think everything done in its name is above criticism. Having had some experience of serving with international organisations, I always fear that it may take on too much especially in a situation like the Congo which is practically without parallel in recent history. Many of the phrases we use about the Congo are practically meaningless, even the elementary phrase we use about law and order. I am not sure what the law in the Congo which we are trying to enforce may be. To send out what must amount to a brigade or two of troops to do anything in a country practically without communications and getting on for the size of Western Europe would be an undertaking of immense difficulty even for an organisation with large resources and great experience in management, neither of which the United Nations can claim to have.

We complain sometimes about our bureaucracy, but if any of us have served in an international organisation we very soon come to see the great advantages of the British Civil Service and British forces and, for that matter, those of the French, too. All this is lacking in the United Nations, but whose fault is that? The United Nations is made up of its member States and it is up to the member States to provide the forces, the civil servants and the organisation to do this kind of job.

I do not think it is any use jobbing too far back about how the current situation arose. Certainly I regret—I deeply regret—many of the things which are alleged to have been done within the last few days. Certainly I do not think the prestige of the United Nations is going to be founded on the successful waging of war, but to impose a ceasefire at once without any conditions would seem to me quite unrealistic. It might be to undo none of the damage which may have been done and at the same time to throw away any possible advantage which may have come from the last few weeks. It is surely impossible to have a cease-fire just like that in a situation such as exists in Katanga. The Government cannot say that they were against the objectives of this operation. On the contrary, they were prepared to supply bombs for it. They should, therefore, say now that they believe a ceasefire is justified but only on certain conditions.

What are the objectives, the purposes, of the immediate operation in Katanga, or rather, what should those objectives and purposes be? One is, by general agreement, to get rid of the foreign mercenaries suspected of stirring up—I think, rightly suspected—a great deal of trouble in the Province. I think that this is a matter of the first importance. The settlement of this question with Mr. Tshombe may well be an essential preliminary to stopping a growing influx of mercenaries into the Congo. As has been mentioned already, if Mr. Gizenga is supplied with large numbers of mercenaries and others from behind the Iron Curtain this will be an extremely serious situation and one in which we shall not be able to take a strong line unless we have already done so with Mr. Tshombe. I urge on the separatists here that they are playing into the Communists' hands by encouraging separatism in the Congo just now.

The second objective which I think we should certainly have in mind—I think we are in agreement about this—is to get Mr. Adoula and Mr. Tshombe together with the purpose of trying to settle the framework of the Government of the Congo. I should imagine that that has to be done now on a federal system. This meeting should be under United Nations auspices and I fully agree that we shall have to see that those auspices can carry out what they say they intend. It may be best to arrange a meeting simply between Adoula, Tshombe and Mr. Gizenga or it may be that those on the spot will tell us that there is more chance of success if other African leaders are brought in as has been suggested by the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) and I believe supported by the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton. This is the second essential condition of a cease-fire.

The next point I make is that, while I personally believe that a federation is the best answer to the Congo question, I do not believe we can rule out changes in the future. The two conditions I have mentioned I laid down as the short-term conditions for getting some sort of law and order into the State, but it seems that one of the difficulties of the United Nations is that it has always had a contradiction tied round its neck. It has got into the position of saying, "We are not going into the Congo to impose a political decision, or a political solution". But it also says, "You must accept a unitary State."

If ever there was a political decision this is it. This, clearly, is a political decision. What I think it should say is that the United Nations is in the Congo for the purpose of getting the place going again, for stopping famine and at least trying to stop open warfare, getting rid of the mercenaries and trying to get some co-operation between the Central Government and the Prime Minister.

Mr. Ronald Bell (Buckinghamshire, South)

I think I am right is saying that the Security Council has never said that there should be a unitary solution. I think that is a red herring started off by the General Assembly. The Security Council has referred only to the territorial integrity of the Congo.

Mr. Grimond

I am much obliged. I am a little in doubt, as a putative Privy Councillor, about how much time I should take in speaking in this debate, but if the hon. Member would took at the Resolution debated on 24th November he will see that the Security Council came very near to saying that. In any case, it should distinguish between the short-term act and the long-term position, and I think that it should admit that in the short term it has to take a certain number of political decisions to get the State going again.

In the long term I think it should, equally, make clear that there must be room for change. Indeed, I think it would be wholly wrong to give the impression that the United Nations for all time is going to enforce on the Congo the political organisation left there by the Belgians. Goodness knows, everything about this situation is topsy-turvy, but it would be most peculiar if people like myself who are engaged in saying that a federation should not be forced on the people of Northern Rhodesia against their will then suddenly find that one day Sir Roy Welensky has invoked the United Nations for the purpose of forcing Northern Rhodesia into federation. I do not think that is a position I should encourage.

I believe that if the Government would attach these two conditions as essential preliminaries to any attempt at a ceasefire, they would have the advantage of getting back into step with the United States. I do not see that it would be contradictory to whatever consistency there has been up to now in their policy. If a cease-fire is achieved, and achieved as I think it can only justifiably be with the conditions I have outlined, it has got to be guaranteed. If it is to be guaranteed it means having more men on the ground in the Congo. One of the great difficulties which has led to the demand for bombs and shooting at hospitals and so forth is that if one wants to keep even the minimum of order in the main centres of the Congo the United Nations has to put in far more men on the ground.

It is the lack of personnel on the ground which has driven the United Nations to these drastic actions with bombs Here I think also there is a lesson for our own defence. We cannot do this sort of operation with bombers and fighters. We have to have men and if they are to be effective they have to be supplied by the members of the United Nations.

Suppose this were to fail. Suppose an attempt to bring Adoula and Tshombe together failed. Suppose we failed to get rid of the mercenaries, and chaos went on in the Congo. There are only two possible alternative results. One is that the United Nations would have to pull out, and that would be an unmitigated disaster for the world and for ourselves. Do not let us delude ourselves about that. I am shocked by the obvious pleasure some people have taken about the difficulties of this operation, looking on and licking their lips with anticipation that it will not succeed, or suggesting that we could economise a lot if we did not pay our subscription. It would be absolutely fatal to the interests of this country if the United Nations failed and had to pull out. It would be a disaster for the whole of Africa and probably for the rest of the world.

The ony alternative is to go on to a prolonged full-scale war and that would be equally bad. If the Government will make it crystal clear that they are going to act as loyal members of the United Nations and that they see they cannot simply impose a cease-fire at a given moment without making some provision for the next moves and laying down some conditions, we have a chance. I will not say it is a chance of turning these events to good purpose, but it is one of getting out of the worst disasters which might flow from a policy of vacillation which has been followed over the last eighteen months. Do not let us delude ourselves. The chief reason why we should support the United Nations—although not the only one—is that today it is a prime British interest.

6.5 p.m.

Mr. Peter Smithers (Winchester)

The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) will forgive me if I do not follow him in detail. I want to revert to the speech of the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson), with which the debate was opened. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I accept the correction. It was opened from the Opposition Front Bench by the right hon. Gentleman. This is, indeed, a day for taking large points in debate, I observe.

I have not had the good fortune to be in the House on many occasions since last July. Early in September I went to the United Nations as a delegate, and I have been there nearly all the time. Until the evening before last I was sitting in the Fifth Committee. Since July there has been a change on the Opposition Front Bench. The right hon. Member for Huyton has replaced his predecessor in charge of foreign affairs. I therefore looked forward with keen anticipation to hearing his lively intelligence applied to the grave problems that we are debating today.

They are grave problems, or at least they seemed so to me, as best I was able to understand them at the New York end, and I thought that today we would hear questions posed by the right hon. Member for Huyton about the present objectives of the United Nations its future aims; what its objectives ought to be; the probable outcome of the present course of events—which he appears to support—and whether the means being used are proper to the United Nations.

I thought that we would hear the right hon. Gentleman ask whether a unified Congo is at present within our grasp what British interests are involved, and why we have arrived in this position. I would have thought that those were the questions which any critic of the Government would be obliged to answer himself before making his criticisms.

The right hon. Gentleman did not deal with a single one of those great questions, so I propose to revert to some of the points with which he did deal. He first accused the Government of seeking to frustrate the resolutions of the United Nations. This is a very large question, which would involve an enormous amount of detail, and I merely ask the House to accept it from me, for what it may be worth—as an observation of a Member who has been intimately concerned with these matters in great detail in New York in recent months—that that accusation has not a shred of evidence to support it.

The right hon. Gentleman also spoke of the contempt with which Mr. Tshombe had rejected the cease-fire appeal of the Government. That argument disposes of any suggestion that the Government or any of their supporters are agents of Mr. Tshombe or any of the other people alleged to be associated with him. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that we all—including the party opposite—want to see the fighting stopped. I dare say that we do, but the right hon. Gentleman did not explain how the present course of events is likely to produce a stop to the fighting unless there is a formal move to do so. How, indeed, when the United Nations is becoming more and more deeply committed at every step, can we expect the fighting to stop, unless there is a vigorous initiative?

The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that a cease-fire, when it came about, must involve the consent and good will of the people of Katanga. How in the world can anybody imagine that shooting up their hospitals and other installations will win their good will? That is a preposterous proposition. The right hon. Gentleman's own argument that the good will of the people must be secured is the strongest I have yet heard in favour of the Government's policy of asking for a cease-fire.

The right hon. Gentleman referred to Article 100 of the Charter. As far as I remember that Article it lays it down that member States undertake not to seek to influence members of the United Nations Secretariat in the exercise of their duty. That is a very proper undertaking. The right hon. Gentleman put forward the extraordinary proposition that this would preclude any Government from making representations to the United Nations as an official body. I should have thought that anybody with even the barest experience of constructing any sort of legal document would appreciate the meaning of that Article. It means that a member State must not go to an individual, as an individual, and seek to persuade him to subvert the policy of the United Nations.

But when Her Majesty's Minister and Ambassador in New York go to see the Secretary-General on a formal occasion is it to be thought that they are trying to persuade him not to do his duty? I never heard a more childish argument put before the House. Formally, the Secretary-General of the United Nations represents in his person the whole body of the organisation—and who has more right to make representations to him about United Nations policy than a member of the Security Council and one of the principal supporters of the organisation?

In fact, the right hon. Gentleman's speech, which failed to deal with any of the great questions which, in all conscience, the House should deal with, was a jigsaw puzzle of rumours and unfounded allegations. Every kind of suspicion that could be brought to bear upon the Government was put forward. The right hon. Gentleman constantly referred back to the time of Suez. He took my memory back with him. It was during the debates on Suez that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, on every possible occasion, sought to put the very worse construction on the actions of the British Government. His words were echoed night after night by the Egyptian radio.

Today, we have heard the right hon. Member for Huyton saying that the British are unpopular because of what they are doing, and that they are being snubbed in the United Nations. I do not know whether or not that is true. But the right hon. Gentleman puts about the kind of rumour which is most likely to contribute to this state of affairs. I find the change on the Front Bench since I left the House in July not at all a promising one. [Laughter.] I mean the Opposition Front Bench.

In September, 1960, I first came into contact with the Congo problem. I walked into the Security Council on my first visit to the United Nations. There. a debate was in progress which resulted in a great triumph for the United Nations in the exclusion of the great Powers and, with it, Soviet influence from the Congo. Two nights ago I sat as a member of the Fifth Committee and listened to the introduction of a financial resolution by the Tunisian delegate in relation to the Congo operation. I could not help reflecting upon the transformation that has come over the scene in the Congo between those two events. It is proper to ask ourselves the reason for this, because it holds the key to the problem.

There are two discernible United Nations objectives. The trouble is that they are in conflict. The first is the elimination of mercenaries and the second the procurement of an agreed settlement within the frontiers of a single State. Each is an admirable objective in itself, but the elimination of mercenaries is of limited relevance. It is important, but it cannot provide a solution to the problem.

On the other hand, Britain, with her experience in Ghana and Nigeria, ought to be able to apply the lessons we have learned in constructing unitary States from heterogeneous African components. I sat for some years in the humble post of Parliamentary Private Secretary, in the room of a great Secretary of State, watching the construction of the Nigerian nation as it is today. There were in Nigeria violent centrifugal forces, very powerful local rivalries, hatreds and differences, and it was only after a very long, patient and detailed series of negotiations that we finally brought all those elements within the boundaries of a single nation State.

There were no mercenaries to deal with; the problem was complicated and difficult enough without them. If anyone believes that mercenaries are the sole cause of the secessionist movement in the Congo they should remember that the same situation existed in Ghana and Nigeria, and that it was cured only by a course of patient negotiation over a period of time.

The Congo is far larger, and the elements may be even more diverse, but I am sure that nobody of any experience or knowledge of Africa would imagine that it would be a simple matter to bring a unified State out of those elements in a short time. If to that already difficult problem we add the presence of white mercenaries, it becomes even more difficult. That is a reason for extra caution, prudence and patience. It is not a reason for precipitate action.

In my view there were three errors in the United Nations' handling of this question. First, the mercenaries were—and still are—far too broadly and loosely classified. There is still a tendency to regard as a mercenary anybody critical of United Nations' policy who happens to live in Katanga. That is not so. Secondly, there has been a belief that the problem of mercenaries is the main one, and that if it could be solved the other problems will solve themselves. That is not so either, although the problem is an important one.

The third—and disastrous—mistake has been to think that the problem of the mercenaries should be dealt with by force. It could be dealt with in that way, but not without prejudicing the main objective, which is an agreed solution in the Congo. No thoughtful person recalling events in Ghana and Nigeria would imagine that if we had used force to try to impose upon local communities a situation that they did not like there would have been the smallest prospect of concord in these matters. It seems to me, therefore, that the United Nations has been engaged upon quite legitimate objectives, but which have been in conflict with each other.

The trouble is that passions were aroused on this issue. To remove the mercenaries the United Nations were forced to occupy positions. As a result, violent resentments have been encountered. That has required defensive action, and that, in turn, has required the occupation of yet more positions. We have seen fierce fighting, the destruction of airfields, trains, bridges, power plants and industries—and incidental civilian damage which is quite inseparable from warfare in any shape or form—and this operation is officially classified as a peace and security operation!

We must ask ourselves—and the right hon. Gentleman made no attempt to pose this question—what course of action has resulted in the United Nations at this moment being engaged in destroying the resources and the people of a country whom it is supposed to help and protect. How has it come about that it is in the position of having to defend itself in this destructive manner at all? It is because its two objectives are in flat contradiction with each other. If the United Nations is to assert its authority by force, on the one hand, then it is clear that it is the end of its rôle as a peaceful mediator, on the other. Every day that passes in the present process sees the attainment of that second and greater objective disappearing further into the distance. This alone is a sufficient reason for the cease-fire for which the Government have called.

I wish to consider for a moment the future prospects. This is a vast problem in sheer geographical extent, and the United Nations can only hope to hold at best but a few key points in an enormous territory. The United Nations forces are already tied down in defensive military positions in a number of places. While this process continues, other more formidable secessions are in the making elsewhere. In other words, it is an ever-expanding commitment to what appears to be a hopeless task. With what resources are the United Nations to pursue this commitment? Its resources in manpower are woefully small. As a matter of set policy, and properly, the great Powers are excluded.

Here, I should like to make a plea for the unfortunate Swedes and Irish who, in good faith and with the best intentions, have committed themselves to this operation. I realise that other nations have done likewise, but those two particularly are not African nations and they have no direct interest in this problem. They are committed to this great operation. They are small in numbers. They cannot produce more troops and, I dare say, cannot see any way out of the plight in which their troops find themselves. Therefore, the manpower problem in itself is very serious. If the operation is to continue and to extend, from where are the forces coming?

Then there is the financial aspect. The finances to continue the operation are not at this moment within sight. Unless the United States takes over this vast and growing burden itself, I do not see how the operation can continue. I should have thought that the United States, in this troubled world, had a better use for its money than this.

This is the policy to which we are asked to give "genuine support" by the Amendment of the Leader of the Opposition. If we are to support the present state of affairs and policy in the Congo, it really is up to the Opposition to say what is at the end of the road. The right hon. Member for Huyton gave no indication of that whatever. I trust that the Leader of the Opposition tonight will be able to give us a clear picture of how he thinks we may come out of this operation to the benefit of people in Africa and elsewhere.

I must also observe that inherent in the Opposition's attitude is the same contradiction which exists in and has bedevilled United Nations policy. The Opposition call for an agreed settlement. They are anxious to have it, but are not willing to stop the fighting. Neither are they willing in any way to compromise on the question of mercenaries in order to bring about, for the time being, a more peaceful situation. They suffer from exactly the same conflict as that from which the United Nations finds itself suffering.

Mr. Collick

I have been following the hon. Gentleman's speech with very great interest, but I have not been able to discover whether he is in support of the United Nations action in the Congo or against it. I think that he ought to make that clear.

Mr. Smithers

I think that I shall have made it clear to the hon. Member by the time that I have finished my speech.

The Government are accused of being equivocating, vacillating, and things of that sort. I should have imagined that any thoughtful person, studying this situation and the conflicting interests and loyalties involved in it, would concede that it is one of exceeding difficulty. There are the dictates of our own experience in our own territories which must have told most of us that something was being attempted which might not be possible of achievement and that it might be being attempted in the wrong manner.

On the other hand, there is a desire to support the United Nations, sometimes even when we disagree with it, because that is, rightly, our policy. Yet again, there has been a desire to fall in with the wishes and interests of our allies if they were in conflict with ours. In addition, there has been, and is, a great deal of uncertainty about the facts of the situation.

I wish to make this general observation about vacillation. A bogus self-confidence in a truly perplexing situation would not have been a mark of wisdom. It would have been a mark of folly. I think that the Government have been right to suspend judgment on many of the great issues involved. They have temporised and waited on events. They have been right in so doing, because events have been far from clear and because it has not been possible to arrive at a final judgment about whether we should go with our allies in courses on which we disagreed and about whether we should support the United Nations if we thought that what it was doing was incorrect. However, no Government can avoid coming to an ultimate conclusion when faced with a harsh situation, and the Government have come to an ultimate conclusion. I think that they are right. They have called for a halt in hostilities. I came to this conclusion last Saturday. They announced their conclusion on Tuesday. Therefore, I do not think they have done at all badly.

Mr. Collick

Poor show.

Mr. Smithers

If it be a question of temporising with events and being surrounded by all the grave responsibilities by which this country is surrounded in this matter, and if I have to choose between taking a hasty decision and waiting a little longer, I am in favour of delay. If the Government erred in favour of waiting and taking time to consider the matter, I think that they were right to do so.

The people in the Congo are in the midst of disaster. Their country is being put to fire and sword. The United Nations is engaged in a dangerous slide which might end, as other hon. Members have said, in its own destruction. The free world is pouring out resources needed for a graver struggle of which this is only a part. I do not doubt that the time has come when a halt to the fighting must be called. Yet I think that we should be wise to recognise the great difficulty which this operation presents. Even if the United Nations was politically able to agree to call a halt, it would then be exceedingly difficult, in effect, to carry it out in the territory, even more difficult as long as the great Powers continue to provide finance for the operation.

I turn to the Amendment in the name of my right hon. and hon. Friends, which advocates a withholding of our voluntary contribution. I wonder whether I might trespass on the patience of hon. Members to say a word or two on that and on what, in fact, is the situation.

I am sure that my right hon. and hon. Friends are right in thinking that finance is the key, because, as the United Nations is constituted, an enormous majority of the member nations provide a very small percentage of the finance. As long as that large majority of member nations continues to vote finance for various projects, the great Powers who actually raise the money are obligated to subscribe it. There is a sort of cycle of perpetual motion which must be attacked at some point. If my hon. Friends wish to attack, finance is the point to attack.

There is at present before the Fifth Committee a resolution which decides to continue the authorisation of expenditure up to the end of 1962, appropriates 80 million dollars for the period up to the end of June, 1962, apportions the sum to be raised among the member nations, and provides for certain other things, and then appeals for voluntary contributions from some members, with a special contribution from Belgium. This is an authorising and financing resolution.

The question whether or not we are obligated to pay anything under such a resolution simply does not arise at present. Therefore, I think that the course which my right hon. and hon. Friends are advocating in their Amendment is premature. I do not think that it is appropriate to the present situation at the United Nations. If they wish to achieve the maximum influence on the course of events, which my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) said he wished to do, I do not think that this is the effective way to do it.

The United Nations voting system is different from ours. It is possible to vote negatively, positively or abstain. I dare say that if we vote positively on a resolution of this sort, we are to some extent indicating a certain course concerning payment when the time comes. If we vote negatively, we are also indicating a certain course.

What my right hon. and hon. Friends are seeking to do is to say that, in the event of there being no cease-fire, Britain should not pay her voluntary contribution. Thus, they will see that this is, first, a much narrower point than the issue now before the United Nations, and, secondly, that it prejudges the whole matter. We have no stick as far as the United Nations is concerned, but we have a carrot. This is a very hungry donkey. If my right hon. and hon. Friends really want to influence the course of events, it is folly to say now that Britain has no intention of paying her voluntary contribution. If they support the general aims of the United Nations in the Congo, as I think they do, they will not wish to pledge themselves at this stage to say that.

That is a decision which arises at a much later stage, when the present resolutions have been passed. To take such a decision now, amidst all the uncertainties, when so often we have been proved wrong about the events in the Congo because the unexpected has happened, would be a most imprudent thing to do. We are not obliged to cross that bridge now. We would he much better advised not to cross it now.

This is my personal view, but, if my right hon. and hon. Friends really wish to achieve the object which their Amendment seeks to achieve, they should urge the Government to abstain from voting on the finance resolution at the United Nations.

Sir Robert Grimston (Westbury)

My hon. Friend and I were together at New York last year. Do I take it from what he is saying that he is advocating rather stronger action than is proposed in our Amendment?

Mr. Smithers

No, that is not the case. I am advocating that we should not now take decisions which we do not have to take. We are not called upon to take any decisions about payment at this moment. We are merely called upon to decide whether we shall adopt a negative, positive or abstaining attitude on the finance resolution in the Fifth Committee. I am saying that the point of my right hon. and hon. Friends would be best achieved if they maintained a position of flexibility and kept the carrot hanging before the donkey. They are not obliged, and the Government are not obliged at this moment, to make any declaration about whether or not we should pay our voluntary contribution. I should have thought that they would wish to reserve that division until they saw what the situation was later.

Sir, it is easy enough to complain about the United Nations. It is easy to be harsh about it. It is easy to write it off. It is easy to appeal to people's prejudices. On the other hand, it is fatally easy to imagine that the United Nations can perform tasks far beyond its capabilities. The present calamity requires us to make an ice-cold analysis of what the position of the United Nations is.

In the comments I am about to make I hope that I shall not be thought to be harsh. I believe that they are true and we need to have reality in mind in making great decisions. First, the United Nations is not, and cannot be, impartial. I read correspondence in The Times this morning about an impartial United Nations force. There could be no such thing. The United Nations is no more impartial than the House of Commons is impartial. How could it be so? It is made up of partisans, as is the House of Commons. Secondly, we cannot expect the United Nations to be an effective body of control for an executive instrument. How can a United Nations force hope to be controlled by a body which is itself sharply divided?

Thirdly, we have to consider the character of the United Nations Assembly and the organisation. I do not mean to use the word derogatorily, but it is irresponsible in the technical sense of the word. I mean that it is a common event to see nations voting for resolutions which they know make nonsense. They do so for perfectly good political reasons, no doubt. It is also frequently to be seen that some delegations, not all of them from new member States, are unable to envisage the likely and probable consequences of the policies they advocate.

Finally, and much more dangerously, many delegations are unable to see not merely their own long-term self-interests but even their short-term self-interest. These things require a very great deal of experience and great nations as well as small ones make mistakes. To hand over anything like sovereign powers or executive authority to an organisation of this sort is burdening it very heavily indeed.

Then there is a tendency to be reluctant to use the veto. There is a tendency to circumvent the Security Council by going to the General Assembly. Both are dangerous tendencies. The veto was designed to be used, and the Assembly cannot be substituted for the Security Council without getting into dangerous water. We cannot make the United Nations a substitute for foreign policy in the last resort. We must have our own.

But I presume that it is a prime British interest that we should establish the rule of law in the world as best we can. No nation needs it more than we do. Unless we have the United Nations, I do not see what other body will be able to establish the rule of law. Therefore, we have to support it for all we are worth.

Mr. Anthony Fell (Yarmouth)

I have listened carefully to my hon. Friend and am full of admiration for what he has said about the United Nations and its shortcomings. However, there is not much consistency between what he has just said and what he said previously about the impossibility of the United Nations working at all.

Mr. Smithers

I did not say that the United Nations would not work at all. I said that we must not expect it to do things which it is not qualified and equipped to do. I am now saying that within its capabilities we must back it up for all we are worth if we ever hope to see any progress towards the world order envisaged by the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland. We cannot expect that to be achieved without an international organisation. Therefore, we must abandon Utopian ideas and patiently rebuild the United Nations upon the practical lines on which it has proved to be successful. The first step towards this is an attempt to liquidate the difficulties in which it now finds itself.

For this reason, the Government Motion is the proper course. It is the only hope of rescuing the United Nations from its plight and reasserting its authority in due course as a world organisation. No valid argument whatsoever has been adduced in support of the Opposition Amendment. I shall, therefore, support the Government in the Lobby tonight.

6.40 p.m.

Mr. A. Fenner Brockway (Eton and Slough)

The subject we are discussing this afternoon is so grave that anyone who attempts to contribute to it must speak in a very serious and responsible way. There are two momentous issues. The first is the issue of the Congo itself—that great territory, whose future will be decisive for the whole Continent of Africa. The second is the issue of the United Nations.

I take the view that in a debate of this gravity everyone must speak with absolute frankness and honesty. I therefore want to begin by saying that I do not believe that the United Nations was justified in asking for the 1,000 lb. bombs. I do not claim to be an expert in this sphere, but I cannot possibly see how bombs of this dimension could have been useful for the purposes of defence, as was claimed. Indeed, I do not see how they could have been used for the limited objects which the Government laid down as conditions for their supply. It is honest for those who take this view to say it openly in the debate, but we must go on to say that this does not involve in any degree on our part absence of support for the United Nations. It does not mean that we can in any way decrease the aid which we will give for the United Nations contribution to a solution in the Congo.

Hon. Members opposite have made great play during the debate with the allegation that they are claiming a ceasefire while we on this side are opposing that claim. If there is to be a cease-fire, there must be two sides to the agreement. Already the United Nations has made a proposal in the Katanga for a cease-fire. The Katangan Government accepted it but, having accepted it, they repudiated it and defied it.

Hon. Members opposite, including the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. Smithers), have ridiculed the attitude of the Labour Party in placing a great deal of emphasis upon mercenanries. The Katangan Government—Mr. Tshombe himself—entered into an agreement to withdraw the mercenaries from Katanga. He failed to do so, and it is only because he failed to do so, and failed to carry out the terms of the cease-fire into which he entered, that there has been a renewal of hostilities.

Mr. Smithers

I did not ridicule the attitude adopted towards mercenaries. I said that it was very important. Surely the hon. Gentleman who, I think, pretends to some knowledge and experience of Africa, would not assert that in these circumstances Africans would have nothing to say about this matter—only the mercenaries?

Mr. Brockway

The hon. Gentleman has anticipated what I am going to say, because I shall make that the main emphasis of my remarks. He has probably arrived in this country too late to have been watching the columns of The Times. If he had been watching them, he would have seen that I had made exactly that point in my contribution to its pages.

If the circumstances in Katanga had been different, if the mercenaries had come from Soviet Russia, or from Czechoslovakia, or from China, would the attitude of hon. Members opposite have been the same as it is today?

Mr. Ellis Smith (Stoke-on-Trent, South)

Action would have been all right then!

Mr. Brockway

If the great copper-belts in Katanga had been nationalised instead of belonging to the Union Minière and the large shareholdings of Tanganyika Concessions Limited, would their attitude towards the United Nations action in the Katanga have been the same?

Mr. Smithers

I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman's patience and kindness in giving way to me again. He does not take my point. The point I endeavoured to make, and I think it is a substantial one, is not whether mercenaries are good things or bad things, or of one political colour or another. I dare say they are all objectionable. My point was that they cannot be got out by force if we still hope to carry out negotiation in good will.

Mr. Brockway

I listened to the hon. Gentleman with great patience and a good deal of interest. In the end I followed his argument. I was very often unable to follow a point he was making, but I continued to listen and found a little later on that what he was saying cleared up what I had not understood before. I ask him to listen to my speech in a similar way and not to assume that everything I am saying is directed to what he said. There are other hon. Members in the House.

The point I was making was that, if the United Nations had now been acting in Katanga in circumstances in which the mercenaries were Russian, or Chinese, or Czechoslovakian, or Albanian, and if the copper belt there had been nationalised property rather than the property of Union Minière and Tanganyika Concession Limited, the attitude of hon. Members opposite would have been completely different.

The right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) referred to the American copper interests. He put his finger on the real issue in Katanga today. He admitted that American copper interests are influencing American policy. Does he ask us to say that Union Minière and Tanganyika Concessions Limited are not influencing the policy of hon. Members opposite?

Mr. Stephen Hastings (Mid-Bedfordshire)

Is the hon. Member aware that Mr. Tshombe himself has said that when he and his people are ready to take over, he intends to nationalise the Union Minière?

Mr. Brockway

Yes, and that may possibly be one reason why Mr. Tshombe is now losing control in Katanga and why the European representatives there—not only the mercenaries, but many who are associated with those companies in their normal life—are now assuming control of what is happening. When we come to sum up the situation in any kind of historical way, we shall find that it is those interests which are dominating the determination of the policy of the right hon. Gentlemen and hon. Members opposite.

Sir Godfrey Nicholson (Farnham)

is the hon. Member really saying—I am sure he is not—that every hon. Member on this side who takes a certain line is being subjected to improper pressure? Does he think that I, for example, have been got at by Union Minière? Does he think that any hon. Member on this side has been? He is being untrue to himself if he allows such an unpalatable point of view to influence him.

Mr. Brockway

I do not mean that, I did not say so, and I do not think that the hon. Baronet imagines me to mean it. He is, however, aware of the strength of the Katanga lobby.

Sir G. Nicholson

What does the hon. Gentleman mean? It is not my lobby.

Mr. Brockway

I am making no charge against the hon. Gentleman. I know him too well.

Sir R. Grimston

The hon. Member is making a smear against this side of the House.

Sir Harry Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)

Filthy smear.

Mr. Brockway

Not a bit. I am well aware of the strength of the Katanga lobby and of the influence particularly of Tanganyika Concessions, Ltd. If the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton is saying that American policy is due to American copper interests, we have every right to come to the conclusion from the evidence before us that the policy of many in the party opposite is due to the pressures of the Katanga lobby and of the Union Minière.

Mr. Turton

The hon. Member has mentioned me three times in this connection. If he is challenging me with having a financial interest, direct or indirect, in Katanga, I deny it. I challenge him to say that outside, where I will then take appropriate legal action. He asks me what we would do if the position was otherwise. The reason why many hon. Members on this side support the position in Katanga is because we want the copper mines to go on. Katangans are employed in them. Whether they are a nationalised or an independent concern, we do not want to see chaos in Africa. We want to see multi-racial partnership there.

Mr. Brockway

If the right hon. Gentleman turns to the pages of the OFFICIAL REPORT, he will not find that I have made any suggestion—

Mr. Paul Williams (Sunderland, South)

What does the hon. Member mean by the "Katanga lobby"?

Mr. Brockway

I am replying to an intervention by the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton. Perhaps his colleagues will allow me to complete the sentence. This is what I was saying to the right hon. Gentleman. It was never in mind that he was personally involved in any interests in this way. When he looks at my speech in the OFFICIAL REPORT, he will find that that is so.

I turn now to the subject to which I wanted to give my main emphasis. I admit straight away that in Katanga there are large tribal pressures which want autonomous and independent States and that, if it were not for those tribal pressures, the mercenaries and others who have been directing their military activities would not have had the power that they possess. Even Katanga itself is divided. There are the Balubas in Katanga who do not accept Tshombe as a leader and many of whom are now refugees in appalling conditions.

Sir G. Nicholson

And dying.

Mr. Brockway

Yes, they are in appalling conditions and dying. They are a distinctive tribe from those who support Tshombe. It is not only a matter of Katanga. It is a matter of the whole of the Congo, of the Bakonga in Leopoldville and towards the coast, of the Baluba, and of the Balunda. Therefore, I am not one of those who thinks that a solution of the Congo problem is just a simple matter of unification under a central Government.

The Congo is one of the most artificial political units in the whole Continent of Africa. That artificial unit comes from colonial policy dating from 1885 and the Berlin Congress, when Africa was divided up among the Powers according to how far their troops or their trading depots had reached. Races and tribes were divided and put under different flags without any reasons of race or tribe, often without any reason of geography. The whole Continent of Africa today is arbitrary and artificial in the frontiers of its States, and of all those territories the Congo is probably the most artificial and the most arbitrary.

In those circumstances, I am not one who thinks that the problem can simply be solved by enforcing a unitary State and saying that a central Government shall dominate the whole area. If there is to be a solution of that problem—and today we have to look not only at the immediate situation, but, as the hon. Member for Winchester said, at a solution at a longer distance as well—it cannot be imposed from outside. The Congo cannot have a solution imposed upon it by the United Nations or by any European or other external authorities. The solution must come from Africans themselves.

I have made a proposal for a solution of this problem. I was delighted to have had the support of four hon. Members on the Government side and I appreciate the courteous way in which they wrote when they might so easily have been controversial. The proposal which I have made as a constructive solution to this problem is that the United Nations should now ask the independent African States to appoint representatives to be sent as a mission of goodwill to try to bring about a solution of these political problems in the Congo.

There is already an advisory Committee to the Secretary-General, and there has already been a conciliation committee, but I do not think that these rule out the suggestion which I am now making. The advisory committee is a permanent committee in New York representing Governments which have forces in the Congo, while the conciliation committee went there for a time, assisted in the re-convening of Parliament and is not now functioning.

What we need now is some new element which will go into the Congo and seek to deal with the present problem in a way which will gain the confidence of the people of the Congo. That will not be gained if there is any contribution to the solution which comes from those who are regarded as colonialists. It will not be gained if it comes as a contribution from those who are regarded as having industrial interests there. It will gain the confidence of the people of the Congo only if it comes from the African peoples themselves.

I hope that this debate will end in a way which will make some contribution to bringing about a permanent solution of the Congo problem, and it was with that intention and for that purpose that I rose to speak this evening.

7.2 p.m.

Sir Robert Grimston (Westbury)

I have the feeling that this is one of those debates which, in the long run, will have its impact on great affairs and the way in which they shape in the future. Therefore, I approach it, I hope, with a due sense of humility.

In following the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) I should like to say that there are some things in his speech with which we could agree, but I would only say here that I thought it a great pity that he had to indulge in what, in an intervention—if I was discourteous to him, I apologise—I said was a general smear on hon. Members on this side of the House, because I hoped that he had not the kind of mentality which says that nobody can feel passionately on an issue unless either his pocket or his career was affected. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) always gives the impression that that is his horizon, and he particularly did so during the latter part of his speech today.

We on this side of the House are accused in some quarters of sabotaging the United Nations, but, the protests which my hon. Friends and I have been making are against the prostitution of the United Nations forces for purposes which neither the founders nor the Charter itself ever envisaged. That is all we have been saying. Last year, I had the privilege of being a member of our delegation to the United Nations, and, therefore, I have had some experience of seeing how that organisation works. I should like to give the House, very briefly, the impressions with which I returned, because I think it is an important background to what is happening in Katanga.

The United Nations is obviously what its members make it, but what distressed me so was to find that all the business there is done by means of package deals behind the scenes. The impression I had was that there were precious few delegations who ever thought about the Charter, except to pay lip-service to it in order to cover up a bargain that had been made.

I will give the House an illustration of that. When I arrived there were vacancies to be filled on the Security Council. If the United Nations is to give moral leadership, one would have thought that the members of the Security Council—I do not refer to the permanent members, but to the elected members—should be States whose records with the Security Council and the Charter are impeccable. I should have thought that that was the idea which should be striven for.

But what did I find? I found that Egypt was being unanimously recommended as a member, having for eight, nine or ten years been in open defiance of the Security Council on the question of Israeli ships going through the Canal. I asked, "Is this really how the United Nations works?" I was rather innocent, I must confess, at that time. I was told "You do not understand these things; that is part of a gentleman's agreement. Everybody votes for Egypt, and it does not matter about the Charter, so long as they get the vote of Egypt for somebody else whom they want on the Security Council." I am sorry to say that that is the atmosphere which permeates the whole organisation.

Now, against this background, I turn to Katanga. What is Mr. Tshombe's sin in the eyes of the United Nations? It is simply that, having gained independence, he dared to maintain stability and law and order with the help of nationals of the former colonial Power. That is his sin in the eyes of the United Nations. Quite apart from anything else, that is exactly' the policy which we ourselves pursue with our own emergent territories. We hope that, when they gain their independence, they will continue to use the advice and help that we can give them, and, in fact, we have gone so far in this House as to vote money to secure pensions for colonial servants if they stay on in a newly independent territory—a policy completely opposite from the United Nations policy in Katanga, which has been simply to try to destroy this successful multi-racial State—

Mr. Warbey

That was a lie.

Sir R. Grimston

—and for the one reason that Mr. Tshombe was employing, voluntarily and of his own free will, people of the former colonial Power.

In support of that, I want to quote from an article by a Daily Telegraph correspondent which appeared some months ago, because he puts it in words very much better than any which I could put into a speech. He said: It would be tedious to describe O.N.U.C.'s devious essays into Congolese politics, its partial, inconsistent but always mischievous interventions. The one recognisable thread that runs through the story is its bitter opposition to the only régimes that have had any success at all in restoring order out of chaos—those of Colonel Mobutu in Leopoldville and President Tshombe in Elisabethville. He goes on to say: What is more, they both—and here is the rub—prefer their own freely chosen Belgian advisers to any of the 'experts' in the United Nations may wish to foist on them. I wonder what would have been said if, on the morrow of our granting independence to India as a whole, and Pakistan then seceding, we had then mobilised the whole of the United Nations to force Pakistan back into India, and, on top of that, if United Nations forces had gone in to destroy and damage towns in Pakistan in order to drive out British officials who had gone there at the wish of the Pakistanis themselves. That is exactly what has happened in Katanga. That is an absolute parallel to what has been going on in Katanga.

Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)


Sir R. Grimston

No, I will not give way. The hon. Member interrupts so much, and I have told him this before, that he has the longest record of interruptions in the columns of HANSARD and I shall not help him to add to it at this stage.

Nobody will contend that Tshombe has not made mistakes, but he has been under very grave provocation. There was the attack last September which took place just as he was about to meet Adoula, what I call the unprovoked aggression of the United Nations. The excesses committed by United Nations troops at that time, which were reported on the B.B.C. and independently, have been hushed up and glossed over. Imagine what would have happened if our troops had committed excesses.

Mr. Warbey

The hon. Member is making the most atrocious allegations.

Sir R. Grimston

Imagine what would have happened if British troops had committed the excesses which were reported by the B.B.C. and other eyewitnesses. How the world would have rung with denunciation. But in the case of the United Nations—that is all right it can do what it likes.

Mr. Warbey

The hon. Member is well aware that the B.B.C. on that occasion and on many occasions since was misled by the Katanga Radio and other reports put out by "Voice and Vision" and interested parties who have excellent access to B.B.C. and I.T.V. television. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."] What the hon. Member has said has been contradicated and he has no right to repeat it in the House.

Sir R. Grimston

I did not get up to enable the hon. Member to make a speech. He must try to catch Mr. Speaker's eye later.

I should like to quote the last line from a letter in The Times from a man who was an eye-witness. He said: Ideologists in Britain may continue to hold their theories. But the bloodbath will never be forgotten by those who witnessed the naked aggression of the U.N. Forces. That is what fouled the atmosphere, and that is why the United Nations can have no influence at all in bringing about reconciliation between Tshombe and the rest of the Congo.

It is a tragedy. The present operation is being carried out by a United Nations smarting under its previous setback. There is no doubt about that, otherwise how could there be the indiscriminate destruction which is being carried out at the present time? The United Nations is one side of the battle and Katanga is the other. To describe this as anything else but an attempt by the United Nations to subjugate Katanga and get rid of Tshombe really means that people do not understand the English language. Against that background, it is quite obvious that the United Nations wishes to destroy Katanga. That is why, evidently, according to Press reports, we shall see a rather heavy effort to do that in the next day or two.

There is another aspect of this situation. In their demand for a cease-fire it is said that Her Majesty's Government may be isolated, but if we are in isolation it is an honourable isolation, just as honourable as it was in 1940. [An HON. MEMBER: "And we could be right again."] It is said that it may offend the United States. I have been receiving in the last few days advice from the United States to the effect that Her Majesty's Government should not be influenced in their course of action by fear of offending the American Administration. After all, it is a free country and I have been told that there is mounting opinion among the people of the United States that things are going far too far with the United Nations in Katanga.

If we are right, as I believe we are, we should not fear American public opinion. I saw only today that the New York Herald Tribune, admittedly a Republican paper, says that …the United Nations' only alternative now is to launch a destructive all-out war against Katanga, or to arrange an immediate ceasefire. The paper adds: We would prefer the latter. As would this House and Her Majesty's Government. That seems to me to indicate that there is, I hope, a move starting in the United States to come behind the sensible policy that we are proposing.

Many speakers wish to take part in the debate and I have little more to say because much of what I had intended to say has been said already. People are saying that this is the beginning of the end of the United Nations. None of us wants to see that. The United Nations was created after the Second World War in the hope that it could do something for mankind where the League of Nations had failed, but the tragedy is that the United Nations, as it is being operated today, is being driven to its own destruction.

The only way at the moment to attempt to start to save it is to get the United Nations extricated from its present position in Katanga. The Government's Motion points the way, and so far I agree with it. But I must ask myself what is to happen next. The Motion merely makes a request to the Secretary-General and stops at that. Let us suppose that our request is ignored or refused. What shall we do? I suggest that the only thing we can do to maintain any dignity or any self-respect on the part of Great Britain is to use then the only sanction that is in our hands, and that is the financial sanction.

Whether we use it in the way we ask for in our Amendment, or in the way suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Winchester (Mr. Smithers), in his most able speech, I should like to think about. If, at the conclusion of the debate—and I can only speak personally—I have some assurance from the Prime Minister that this Motion is not the last step, and if, in the event of our finding in a matter of days that nothing happens, Her Majesty's Government will use the financial sanction in one way or another, I will be satisfied. If my right hon. Friend cannot give me that assurance, I cannot in justice to my own conscience, and to what I believe to be the right thing, support the Motion.

7.20 p.m.

Mr. John Stonehouse (Wednesbury)

There was so much with which I fundamentally disagree in the speech of the hon. Member for Westbury (Sir R. Grimston), but at least the House will agree that it was a courageous speech. One knew at the end where he stood, and one cannot say that of the Government. The Government, in face of a crisis in the United Nations, disasters in Katanga, conflicts between Commonwealth Prime Ministers, a split in N.A.T.O. and all the results which will flow from that, have treated us not with a frank appraisal of the position but with a series of evasive excuses and cheap political manœuvres in order to cover the position.

The Lord Privy Seal's speech was typical of the evasion and double-talk we have come to expect from him. However, I do not fully accept that the Government have been vacillating over the Congo thoughout the last eighteen months. I believe that, despite vacillation on the surface, there has been a thread of consistency running through it all. I believe that from the beginning the Government have been trying to undermine the United Nations in what it has been trying to do in the Congo.

I was in Leopoldville just over a year ago. I met some of the principle characters involved at that time. I called on Mr. Lumumba and met our Ambassador there and also the United Nations representative, Mr. Dayal, and some of the remarkable men associated with him in the United Nations Mission in Leopoldville. The general impression I had was that our diplomatic representatives in Leopoldville were doing their best to undermine the legitimate Government and the authority and influence of Mr. Dayal. I think that one of the reasons that he was forced to resign was the pressures behind the scenes of the Ministers who were responsible at that time for our foreign affairs.

We have had reference today to the resolutions passed by the Security Council. If the Government really mean what they have said today, then they should have either abstained or voted against the resolution of 21st February, which they supported. As the Lord Privy Seal pointed out, that resolution allowed the United Nations to use force in the last resort. He did not make it clear that that provision followed this phrase …the United Nations take immediately all appropriate measures to prevent the occurrence of civil war in the Congo. "All appropriate measures" could include the very important point of removal of the mercenaries who are now the main factor in the continuation of Mr. Tshombe's war against the United Nations. If the mercenaries were not there, the actions of Mr. Tshombe and his friends would collapse over night.

Mr. Gilbert Longden (Hertfordshire, South-West)

That did not include mercenaries. They are referred to in the next paragraph, which does not include the use of force.

Mr. Stonehouse

If the United Nations considered that civil war was being encouraged in the Congo by mercenaries financed by interested companies or secessionists, then they would surely come within the category of "all appropriate measures".

Many of us feel—and there is evidence confirming this—that the mercenaries have a very great influence upon Mr. Tshombe's actions and that if they had not been in Katanga, the gendarmerie would have collapsed against the United Nations Force. Why did the Government support the resolution of 21st February making it a unanimous decision, if they did not intend force to be used in order to prevent civil war'? If they supported paragraph 3, concerning the withdrawal of mercenaries, why have they not taken steps to ensure that it is enforced? They have made no genuine attempt to ensure that the mercenaries employed in Katanga are withdrawn.

The hon. Member for Westbury referred to the so-called stability and law and order in Katanga. He seems to have fallen for the very skilful propaganda now emanating from a very astute public relations organisation—an organisation which hands out doctored photographs to newspapers and is responsible for some of the most misleading Press releases any of us have read. When the hon. Gentleman talks of law and order in Katanga, has he forgotten the United Nations report, very well documented, of February last, which referred to Tshombe's action and virtual war of extermination against the Balubas?

Sir R. Grimston

A number of my hon. Friends have been to Katanga. There have been letters in The Times from people who have stayed there in peace months before the United Nations came in, and who have always said that it was an oasis of security and peace compared with the chaos in the rest of the Congo.

Mr. Stonehouse

Then they could not have gone very many miles from Elisabethville, nor to North Katanga, which has been beyond Tshombe's control. I do not believe that the only pressures on the Government to change their policy over the weekend have come from the group below the Gangway. There have been pressures no less important. The Belgian Foreign Minister, M. Spaak, made a statement recently calling on the N.A.T.O. forces to mobilise against the United Nations. A report in the Evening Standard by Robert Carvel on Tuesday, said: We understand that the Foreign Secretary has acknowledged the telegram he received from M. Spaak appealing for pressure on the United Nations for a Katanga cease-fire. This is another demonstration of the split in the alliance which will have very serious effects upon our position in the West vis-à-vis the Communist world. If this split continues, and we continue to pursue the policies the Government now have towards Katanga, the inevitable result will be to encourage infiltration by Communists, because they will be only too anxious to take advantage of this situation. It will give encouragement to Gizenga's regime in Stanleyville and will not be in the best interests of the United Nations or of peace and stability in the Congo in the long run.

There is a still more serious influence now involved and that emanates from Sir Roy Welensky, who, without any authority or constitutional right, has, been making statements on the position of the United Nations and on foreign affairs which are completely unconstitutional and which should have been repudiated by Her Majesty's Government. Or do they support his statements? In particular, he made a statement on Sunday which was issued by the High Commissioner of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Sir Roy said: The record of the United Nations in Katanga is one long succession of deliberate distortion and untruths issued to suit their own purpose. I ask the Prime Minister whether he supports that statement. If he does not why has not he repudiated it, because Sir Roy Welensky has no right to make any such statement? It is completely unconstitutional.

Mr. P. Williams

Although the hon. Member is not a member of the Government, he is perfectly entitled to criticise. Even so, Sir Roy Welensky is a free man who is entitled to criticise. That does not place Her Majesty's Government in the position of having to accept or reject his criticism.

Mr. Stonehouse

Sir Roy Welensky is speaking in his official capacity as Prime Minister of the Federation, but he has no authority at all to speak on foreign affairs without the express approval of the Government here. If the hon. Member wants confirmation of that, I would refer him to the Monckton Commission's Report which, after describing the constitutional position of the Federation, said: In the field of external affairs, the authority of the Federation must in all cases be supported by an authorisation or entrustment by the United Kingdom Government. Have the Government given that authorisation to Sir Roy Welensky? Have they allowed him to make not only that statement last Sunday but all the string of deliberate attacks on the United Nations in the last year. In particular, have they given approval to his refusal to allow United Nations bombs and supplies to be transported across Rhodesia and Nyasaland? Did they give approval to the transit of Mr. Tshombe from Ndola to Katanga when he was involved in an all-out campaign against the United Nations? Encouraging Tshombe to go to Katanga was a deliberate violation of the resolution of the Security Council of 24th November. The House and the country will expect a plain answer.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

The hon. Gentleman need not waste the time of the House. The answer was given by the then Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations in another place on 14th July, 1960.

Mr. Stonehouse

This is so urgent a matter that we should expect to have a reply from the Prime Minister tonight. Sir Roy Welensky has been involved in a campaign against the United Nations in the last year. He has given political support to Tshombe, and we understand from a newspaper report only a day or so ago that Tshombe is thinking of going to Rhodesia to consult Welensky about his political programme. Have the Government been informed about this? Do they approve of it? If they do not approve, then they should make a clear, unequivocal statement of disapproval of Sir Roy Welensky's actions.

Finally, I echo the point made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) in his remarkable and moving speech. The reason for the policies pursued by the Government lies in the financial interests involved in the Union Minière and the associated interests of Tanganyika Concessions and the British-South Africa Company. What is feared by hon. Members who are associated with these companies is that if Tshombe falls, and if the Congo is united—as it should have been over a year ago—and the Union Minière influence is removed, Northern Rhodesia will collapse and the British-South Africa Company's influence in that country will be destroyed.

When there is an amount of £11 million a year being paid in royalties to the British-South Africa Company, then a substantial financial interest is involved. From this year and before the concession runs out, no less than £200 million will have been paid by the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt in royalties to the British-South Africa Company. Every fair minded Member will agree that there is a tremendous financial stake.

There is also the stake of the landowners in Southern Rhodesia and the fear of what will happen if the breaking of Tshombe results in the destruction of the concept of a federation which is supported by so many hon. Members opposite and which means the imposition of minority rule by a small number of whites against the overwhelming mass of the people of Rhodesia and Nyasaland who want no part of such a dictatorship.

There are tremendous financial interests involved and if the full facts were known to the British public, they would certainly vote the present Government out and bring into power a Government which sincerely believed in the United Nations and which had a foreign policy and a colonial policy based on justice. The British public do not want a Government which will support the United Nations only when the United Nations is following a policy which entirely agrees with our vested interests.

7.36 p.m.

Colonel Sir Tufton Beamish (Lewes)

I have listened with interest, and in almost total disagreement, to practically every word which the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) has addressed to the House. I propose to comment on many of the things he said, but at the outset of my speech I have no hesitation in saying that I support the Government Motion.

What, then, of the Opposition Amendment? What stands out a mile is that the Opposition are against a cease-fire. If they are in favour of a cease-fire, we have not been told on what terms they would like to see it. Perhaps when the Leader of the Opposition winds up the debate for his side he will tell the House. The Amendment refuses to face the facts and contains some wild exaggerations. Particularly wildly exaggerated is the attempt to show that the Conservative Party is against the United Nations. We are nothing of the sort and I propose later to produce some evidence towards that.

I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) is not in his place, and that he has been here so little since he spoke, for I would have liked to have told him that I thought his speech an extraordinary conglomeration of gossip and tittle-tattle, mixed up with some insinuations which were unworthy of a "Shadow" Foreign Secretary. I thought that his speech was just as bad as that of the Leader of the Opposition was good in our last foreign affairs debate.

There is an Addendum on the Order Paper, signed by about 30 of my right hon. and hon. Friends and with which I find myself largely in agreement. I am in complete agreement about the importance of a meeting between Mr. Tshombe and Mr. Adoula, and it is clear that the Government also agree. However, I take the view that my right hon. and hon. Friends who have put down this Addendum are trying to take two fences at once. It is not right or proper to go to the Secretary-General and say, "We, the United Kingdom, want a cease-fire and, if we do not get it, we will do A, B or C." It is perfectly obvious that if we do not get a ceasefire soon we will have to take other action, but it is not reasonable to expect the Government, at this stage, to say that if we do not get a cease-fire we will withdraw our voluntary contribution. I will remind the House of something Sir Patrick Dean said on that subejct on 22nd November in the Security Council debate which clearly pointed the direction in which the Government are moving.

My right hon. and hon. Friends who have put dawn this Addendum have made a clear and proper distinction between our mandatory contribution and our voluntary contributions. I have with me a few figures which, since they have not been quoted—most of the other things I wanted to say have already been said—may interest the House. In 1960, our mandatory contribution from 14th July to the end of the year was 3,768,000 dollars and in 1961, to the end of October, 7,706,000 dollars. Our largest voluntary contribution was of 3 million dollars to the United Nations Special Fund for the Congo.

But there are other important voluntary contributions which no single hon. Member would like to see ended. For example, there was a contribution of £15,000 for famine relief in the Leopoldville area and South Kasai, and 150 hospital tents. Those are things which must make us careful about asking for blanket withdrawal of contributions automatically if we do not get the ceasefire we all want. I am the first to agree that certain logical steps must follow if a cease-fire is not agreed quickly.

There is absolutely no denying that the United Kingdom is an extremely loyal member of the United Nations. I say that for the benefit of the hon. Member for Wednesbury. There is a mass of evidence to that effect. One small piece of evidence which is worth mentioning and which was quoted in reply to a Question a week or two ago is that only 12 countries out of more than 100 members of the United Nations are up to date with their mandatory contributions, and that the United Kingdom is one of them and has never defaulted. That is loyalty to the United Nations. I remind the House that at the same time 87 countries are behind with their mandatory contributions for the Congo operations alone. I think that that emphasises my point. Those and other facts make the exaggerations in the Opposition Amendment perfectly absurd.

Apart from what I thought was the incomprehensible bombs decision, it is ridiculous to accuse the Government of vacillating policies towards the United Nations. As long ago as 20th February, Sir Patrick Dean, in a debate on the "use of force" resolution, said: I must explain that the interpretation which my delegation puts upon the words at the end of that paragraph, namely, 'and the use of force, if necessary, in the last resort', is that force will only be used by the United Nations to prevent a clash between hostile Congolese troops. There can be no question of empowering the United Nations to use its forces to impose a political settlement. That was said a long time ago and is without doubt still the view of the British Government. That is not vacillating. Incidentally, eight out of eleven members of the Security Council expressed similar reservations, so we were by no means isolated on that issue.

In the debate on 21st November, Sir Patrick Dean used these words in his closing sentence: I must make it clear that the continued full support by the United Kingdom of the Congo operation must depend on the skill and wisdom and the conciliatory manner with which the United Nations carries out its mandate. There has been very little skill, very little wisdom and very little sign of conciliation. Her Majesty's Government view about the use of force in the Congo has, therefore, been consistent throughout 1961 and those two quotations should prove it to anyone with an open mind.

Then came the weekend, with irrefutable evidence that widespread force was being used against civilian targets. Without doubt, the anxieties of all of us who did not wish to see unnecessary force used were greatly increased, and that was obviously a powerful factor in the Government's thinking between Thursday night, when the decision was taken to send the bombs, and Monday. Never mind what Dr. Linner said or denied—incidentally, there are seven versions of his speech which I have in my file; never mind what General McKeown said and denied, because these things have been said and denied very often during the last twelve months.

Let us look, instead, at what the Lord Privy Seal reminded us of—the article in last Sunday's Observer, written by Dr. O'Brien. I have it with me if I am challenged. In clear terms Dr. O'Brien said that the objective of the United Nations operation in the Congo was "the imposition of a solution by force". That is Dr. O'Brien in his own words, in the left-hand column of his article, in last Sunday's Observer. Nothing could be clearer than that. Dr. O'Brien has some inexcusable inaccuracies in that article, to some of which my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal drew attention. No doubt there were others.

I turn from that to say a few words about the mercenaries. When I last spoke on this subject, I said how much I regretted the use of the word. It is a loaded word: it is a loose word; it is a blanket word; it means all things to all men. How many hon. Members know that there are more than 30,000 Europeans now living in the Katanga Province? If their homes are attacked by United Nations jet fighters, for instance, are they entitled to fire in retaliation, and do they automatically become mercenaries because they defend the homes in which many of them were born? Katanga is their home. We have seen a photograph in one of the newspapers today of black men and white men holding rifles side by side. They have been fighting together against the United Nations. I am not apportioning blame, but simply drawing attention to the fact that this is an incredibly difficult question.

My hon. Friend the Member for Winchester (Mr. Smithers) drew attention to the incompatability between the use of force to remove mercenaries and the conciliation rôle that we all want the United Nations to perform. It is a great mistake to try to over-simplify the problem of the mercenaries, and it is true to say that excellent progress was being made last summer, in which the British Government played an important part. To what the hon. Member for Wednesbury said about the removal of foreign mercenaries from Mr. Tshombe's gendarmerie and police force—[Laughter.]—it is no good the hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Warbey) giggling; that is the fact.

Mr. Warbey

I will get up and say—

Sir T. Beamish

Get up and giggle.

Mr. Warbey

I appreciate the courteous manner in which the hon. and gallant Gentleman has given way and I will say what I was saying to myself, namely, that what the British Government did last August and September was to intervene and stop the rounding up of the mercenaries.

Sir T. Beamish

That just happens to be completely untrue and it is not worthy of comment. If the hon. Member has any evidence that it is true, I hope that he will give it to the House. I know it to be quite untrue.

The mercenary problem has become even more difficult because the November Security Council resolution introduced a new factor—the removal of "political advisers", without any attempt at definition. I saw a letter in The Times from Mr. Colin Legum saying a list of 500 or 600 politcial advisers had been made and that only those were to be removed. I did not have the faintest idea that such a list existed and it only emphasises how difficult a problem is the removal of mercenaries—that [...]aded word—and political advisers.

Incidentally, it draws attention to the fact that above all else in Africa we are working towards creating conditions in which men who are black, white, brown or yellow can work happily together for their mutual benefit. That is exactly what we are trying to achieve in Northern Rhodesia and exactly what we are trying to achieve in Kenya and what we have achieved, thank God, in Tanganyika, where 25,000 Europeans are living happily, something which many people have not noticed.

How can it be right to be associated with this policy of the automatic removal of anyone whose skin is white and who wants to help a black Government solve their problems? It cannot be right to go so far as that.

Mr. Stonehouse

In view of the hon. Gentleman's reference to Tanganyika, has he considered what Mr. Julius Nyerere said about the position in Katanga?

Sir T. Beamish

I happen to know Mr. Nyerere's views on Katanga very well. In fact, I have discussed them with him on more than one occasion, in Tanganyika and in England. The hon. Gentleman is right. Mr. Tshombe has made himself unpopular even with some of the most reliable and respected African leaders. Not with all of them by any means, hut Mr. Nyerere was one. Mr. Nyerere may not be right about this. It is just possible that he is wrong, and he may well change his mind.

There has been a lot of talk about a united Congo. I was interested in what the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) said. He regarded the whole of the Congo, as drawn on our maps, as an "artificial" country. The hon. Gentleman is right. It is an artificial country. I take the view that Katanga should form some kind of confederation with the rest of the Congo. I think that the Government are right to do all that they peacefully can towards that end so long as the provinces can be brought together voluntarily.

I do, however, take the view that it is highly improbable that the Congo as a whole will become a politically stable and economically viable country during the next few years. I also take the view that it would be wrong to bring undue pressure to bear either on Mr. Tshombe or Mr. Gizenga to join the rest of the Congo if they do not wish to do so.

I have discussed this with Mr. Tshombe. I was in Katanga fourteen months ago. I did not find him at all shut-minded about co-operation with the rest of the Congo. I know that he is sometimes apt to say one thing at one time and another thing at another time, and that he confuses many people in that way, but when he went to Tananarive he put forward constructive proposals for confederation. I have a copy of his proposals, written in French. He made similar proposals at Coquihatville and got arrested for his troubles. He spent a month in prison and had a bad time. In my opinion, there is a great deal less than is sometimes thought to be the case between the views of Mr. Adoula and Mr. Tshombe about the way in which a confederation might be brought about.

I am sure that Mr. Tshombe is not an isolationist. I am sure that he is not a separatist. I am sure that he would like to reach some kind of sensible agreement whereby he did not become totally involved with the rest of the Congo, but entered into some form of confederation.

I turn from that to say something which I do not like saying about the United States. A year ago, in a well-known American weekly magazine, I was described as a "Yank at Westminster". I took that as a nice compliment. Perhaps, therefore, a Yank at Westminster might ask a very pertinent question of the United States Government.

Mr. George Ball, the United States Under-Secretary of State, was reported in today's newspapers as saying that the United Nations must achieve its minimum objective in Katanga. A State Department official has said that Katanga must be brought under the control of Leopoldville. I do know what is meant by either of those remarks. Do the American Government want unconditional surrender from Mr. Tshombe? If not, what do they want? This is not clear to me, and it has not been made clear to anybody else, and I regret that American policy in the Congo should be so unclear.

I should like to try very briefly to define the rôle which I think the United Nations should be playing in the Congo. It is not an easy thing to do, particularly with the situation changing so often as it does. The Lord Privy Seal dealt with this question, and I will reiterate one or two of his points. If possible, we surely want to see the Congo kept out of the cold war. That means that the United Nations must do all that it can to stop foreign intervention whether it comes from the United Arab Republic, Northern Rhodesia, Belgium, Britain, or Russia.

Secondly, I think that its military rôle should be confined to a police rôle in co-operation with the de facto provincial Governments. Article 220 of the loi fondamentale gives each province control over law and order, and its own police force, and it is obvious that the United Nations cannot carry out a police rôle effectively unless it is able to co-operate with the provincial police forces. It cannot do that until confidence is re-established.

Thirdly, the United Nations must look after its own self-defence and protect its necessary communications.

Next, it has an important and difficult rôle in trying to prevent civil war. This perhaps is one of its most difficult duties. Unfortunately, it is a duty which it has shirked. I cannot refrain from saying that it appears to have shown unwarrantable bias in this matter. There have been at least three attacks on Katanga Province by forces under the control of the central Government, and in not one single instance, so far as I know, has the United Nations by diplomatic means, and certainly not by military means, done anything to intervene. This has led many people to think—wrongly I hope—that certain elements of the United Nations have been giving positive encouragement to the central Government to settle the score with Mr. Tshombe by military means.

I cannot believe that that is the case, but there has been no explanation of the failure of the United Nations to intervene, for example, a few weeks ago when there was a large scale attack on Albertville from the next province. The United Nations was standing by, and, so far as I know, no effort was made to intervene.

When the cease-fire agreement was signed, it included a clause that the United Nations would help Mr. Tshombe to protect his province against "outside attack". I am certain that Mr. Tshombe must have thought that that meant outside attack from wherever it came. He was not expecting to be attacked by Sir Roy Welensky or Ruanda Urundi, but he was certainly in fear of attack from central Government forces, most probably from the Gizengist forces. It was only 24 hours later that one of the leading United Nations officials made it clear that this did not refer to attack from any other part of the Congo, and Mr. Tshombe felt, rightly or wrongly, that he had been misled. I, too, thought that he had been misled, no doubt by mistake.

Next, the United Nations must obviously play a very important humanitarian rôle in the Congo. It must provide a great deal of help to refugees, medical supplies, doctors, and so on, and it must also provide a great deal of technical assistance, and very welcome it will be.

Lastly, it has a very important reconciliation rôle in the political field, to try to help the different provinces of the Congo to solve their political differences.

For what it is worth, that is my attempt to define the rôle which I should like to see the United Nations playing in the Congo. What it must not do, first and foremost, is to interfere in any way in domestic politics, because it is not trying to set up a trust territory in the Congo, and in any case interference in the domestic politics of any State is specifically barred in the Charter.

There are bound to be two most regrettable effects of the firm and sensible British policy which has been described to us today, and which I am sure is supported by every hon. Member on this side of the House. It is bound, unhappily, to emphasise the existing sharp divisions in the British Commonwealth.

Before the debate is over we shall no doubt be told that we must "keep in step with the Commonwealth." I heard that said by a number of my hon. Friends yesterday and by several hon. Gentlemen opposite. It would be a very nice thing if we could get in step with the Commonwealth on this matter but all we can do, since we are out of step, is to do what we know to be the right thing and try to persuade them that we are right. It would today be beyond the capacity of man to get Sir Roy Welensky in step with Mr. Krishna Menon or Mr. Nehru, or to get Dr. Nkrumah in step precisely with Mr. Menzies. I could give other examples. They are out of step with each other and we are out of step with some of them. Be that as it may, it does not alter the fact that we must do all we can to do the right, the true and the proper thing today.

It is also regrettable that the decision that has been made—the change in emphasis in British policy—has led to obvious divergence between Britain and the United States. But there is considerable well-informed and important criticism in America of American policy in the Congo. I have seen it in several leading American newspapers and earlier my hon. Friend the Member for Westbury (Sir R. Grimston) quoted from the New York Herald Tribune which, personally, I do not regard as a Republican newspaper. To me, it is just as much a Democratic newspaper, whatever ownership it may have. It is not a party newspaper. I will not call it a split, but the difference which has arisen between ourselves and America is very regrettable and seems to have arisen because of the American belief that, somehow, by crushing Tshombe's Government, the United Nations will hold up the spread of Communism in the Congo.

I believe that to be the opposite of the truth. To begin with, the Congo is a fairly bad bet for the Russians. There are much nicer playgrounds for them. They are very busy, and so are the Chinese, receiving students from all over the world—in Moscow, Pekin and elsewhere behind the Iron Curtain—and the Chinese are stepping up their broadcasting so that now China broadcasts more to Africa than does any other country. The Congo is not a very attractive part of the world for the Communists and, in any case, they are bound to get their hooks into certain places, in parts of Africa and Asia. We may not be able to stop them getting their hooks into Mr. Gizenga, but Mr. Tshombe's Government is anti-Communist to a man. To a man. Furthermore, that Government believes in non-racial policies and that is perhaps the most important answer to the Communist's efforts in Africa and Asia.

If one cannot develop non-racial policies one cannot have an answer to Communism in Africa. The Communists do not want to see non-racial policies working and that may be one reason why they would be glad to see the end of Tshombe's regime. The High Commissioner appointed by Adoula's Government, no doubt chosen by Gizenga, who spent two days at Kamina Airport, was a Moscow trained Communist and would have taken over from Tshombe's administration if O'Brien's abortive coup d'etat in September had been successful. It is public knowledge that the central Government had announced plans to nationalise the Union Minière and replace Belgian technicians with Czech ones. That is something the Americans would not be likely to welcome and I very much hope that the Americans will think hard about their policies at the moment and exactly where they are leading them.

There is no shadow of doubt that every single British Government decision about our attitude towards United Nations policies in the Congo has been dictated absolutely honourably and by worthy consideration. Some of us feel—and to a certain extent I have certainly felt it myself—that some of those policies were misguided in the face of facts which appeared to be staring us in the face.

Most of us felt that the decision about the bombs—fortunately, it is now past history—was a genuine mistake. Some of us felt that it might have been better, even if something worse had come out of the General Assembly, to have used the veto in November and not to have laid ourselves open to the charge of vacillation—which the Opposition have made—or duplicity—which Dr. O'Brien has made. They are both unworthy charges. Through genuine loyalty to the United Nations the Government have, unfortunately, got the worst of both worlds and appeared to be totally isolated.

We heard only today I have not seen the report myself—that certain views were expressed in N.A.T.O. yesterday. If those views have been correctly described it would appear that most, if not all, of our N.A.T.O. allies—bar only the United States—hope to see a ceasefire in Katanga. I hope that that is the case.

The United Nations is a very powerful force in the world and must remain so, for the maintenance of peace and law and order, but it will not be such a force unless it conforms absolutely to the spirit and the letter of its own Charter. There has been a very serious departure from the spirit and letter of that Charter during the Katanga operations. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Huyton tried to rag us about the sentence in the Gracious Speech concerning "sustaining the authority of the United Nations". There is no better way of doing that than by making quite certain that there is no departure from the spirit or the letter of the Charter. We will, I think, gain an immense amount of respect in many countries—and in many surprising quarters—now that our course is so clearly set. We will not find ourselves as isolated as we have, unhappily been recently.

A point which is greatly troubling a number of my hon. Friends—although it does not trouble me today—is the question of some reconsideration being given to the payment of voluntary contributions if we do not get a cease-fire. I hope, as do a number of my hon. Friends, that when the Prime Minister replies to the debate he will feel able to make a reference to this question. I have no doubt whatever that I should oppose, as hard as I can, the Opposition Amendment. Nor have I any doubt that I should vote for the Government Motion, because we are now following a positive course which I warmly welcome, a course which is clearly consistent with continued loyal support of the United Nations based on the principles of its Charter which, in turn, is clearly consistent with the British Commonwealth's best interests and, again, is consistent with Britain's best interests as well.

8.8 p.m.

Mr. William Warbey (Ashfield)

In contrast to some hon. Gentlemen opposite, the hon. and gallant Member for Lewes (Sir T. Beamish) put forward a case, with which I largely disagreed, in a moderate and rational way. On one point, however, I found myself wholly in agreement—that the Government have displayed a considerable degree of loyalty towards the United Nations in so far as they have contributed very substantially towards the funds of the Congo operations—not only the mandatory contributions, but the voluntary ones as well.

In so doing the Government have done rather more than observe the conditions laid on them by the Charter. They have certainly done far better than the Russians and their friends who have made no contribution whatever. By failing to make a contribution—even their mandatory contribution—they are in breach of Article 49 of the Charter which calls on them to give full assistance to the Security Council in the carrying out of its decisions. That is the only extent to which I can go along with the hon. and gallant Member for Lewes.

It has become clear from what has been said by other hon. Members, by the Lord Privy Seal, and also by British representatives in the United Nations, that this very financial assistance—most of which they are obliged to give under the Charter, anyhow—is now to be used as a means of putting pressure upon the United Nations in order to get it to do what the British Government want and not what the Security Council decides. That in itself is a beginning of the process of undermining the authority of the United Nations, which is the subject of the charge which the Opposition are making against the Government today.

We have heard from some hon. Members opposite some disgraceful attacks upon the United Nations. From the hon. Member for Westbury (Sir R. Grimston) we had a speech which, from beginning to end, except for the odd sentences in which he said that he was a supporter of the United Nations, was a consistent attack upon all that the United Nations stands for, upon all that it has done in regard to the Congo and upon the members of its staff in carrying out all the duties imposed upon them by the Security Council.

He repeated some of the most disgraceful attacks that have been made in the form of reports which have come from Katanga and elsewhere, attacks which have been repudiated. For example, attacks on the behaviour of Indian troops were repudiated, not only by the United Nations staff itself, but also by the Prime Minister. He sent a message to Mr. Nehru in order to dissociate the British Government from these disgraceful attacks on the behaviour of the Indian troops and to compliment them on the way in which they had behaved.

From the Lord Privy Seal we had probably the most pathetic, the most evasive and fumbling speech we have had since the days when Sir John Simon and the present Home Secretary were defending the policy of appeasement in the pre-war Tory Government. His speech was throughout one series of misrepresentations and evasions on almost every point in order to justify a policy of appeasing—not a powerful man like Hitler, whom there might have been some justification in appeasing in order to gain time to fight him better later, as the Leader of the House has recently suggested—but appeasement of a petty, tin-pot provincial administrator.

This is what the present policy of the British Government amounts to. What they are proposing is that there should be an immediate cease-fire without any attempt to carry out and to achieve the objectives of the United Nations which have been laid upon it by the Security Council's decision. We are at a moment when the United Nations forces, according to the Secretary-General, according to the members of his staff, according to the Government of the United States and according to the majority of members of the United Nations, are engaged in carrying out military operations in the furtherance of the objectives for which they were called into the Congo. That is the actual position.

In order to carry out those objectives they have found it necessary to overcome military rebellion against those objectives. What the British Government are doing in asking for an immediate cease-fire is suggesting that the United Nations should surrender to this military rebellion. In that they are supported by the bulk of hon. Members behind them who have been wanting this policy for a very long time—hon. Members who, if this kind of policy had been advocated at a time when British troops were involved in the fighting, would have denounced it as a stab in the back.

What would hon. Members opposite have said if there had been a demand for an immediate cease-fire at the time when British troops were engaged in carrying out the United Nations mission in Korea? What did they say when there was a demand for a cease-fire when they were carrying out an act of aggression against Egpyt in Suez a few years ago? What did they say during the war when, as on hon. Member said, we stood in isolation and the Communists and others demanded an immediate ceasefire? Those acts were then denounced by hon. Members on both sides of the House as a stab in the back for those engaged in carrying out necessary operations in defence of democracy and world law and order.

Mr. G. M. Thomson (Dundee, East)

Although there are not actually British troops in the United Nations operation, there are Commonwealth troops there from India and Nigeria. The Nigerian troops, whom I saw in Nigeria only a few weeks ago, were going off to the Congo led by British officers.

Mr. Warbey

I am very grateful to my hon. Friend for that intervention, of which I feel sure the Lord Privy Seal has taken due note. He will no doubt have noted the inference that what the Government are proposing to do, if not stabbing British soldiers in the back, is stabbing Commonwealth soldiers in the back.

In the course of this defence of this disgraceful proposal that the United Nations should surrender to Tshombe and his mercenaries, we had from the right hon. Gentleman an accusation that the Labour Party was not in favour of a cease-fire and a peaceful political settlement. He knows, of course, that that is a complete misrepresentation of the actual situation. What we are in favour of is a negotiated political settlement as soon as the conditions have been created for such a settlement. One of the first necessities for the creation of such a settlement is that those who are in military rebellion against their own central Government and against the United Nations and who are using foreign mercenaries in order to conduct that military rebellion should first be compelled to accept a peaceful settlement which they have resisted and are resisting by force. That is the first essential. When we have got that, we can go on to get a negotiated settlement.

Then the right hon. Gentleman deliberately created confusion about the objectives for which the United Nations Mission has gone to the Congo. He forgot to mention that it went there not only as a result of a decision by the Security Council, but also because it was called in by the central Government of the Congo, and that the purpose for which the central Government called it in was that it should assist, not only with technical and civilian advisers, but also with military help in the restoration and maintenance of law and order throughout the Congo.

The legal validity of the decision of the United Nations rests upon that. When the hon. and gallant Member for Lewes claims that he wants to respect the Article of the Charter which provides that the United Nations must not interfere in internal domestic affairs of a member nation, but at the same time says that the United Nations force ought to co-operate with the provincial police forces in carrying out its mission, he is engaged in a complete contradiction. Its duty, and its only possible duty under the Charter, is to co-operate with the forces of the central Government maintaining and restoring internal order.

The right hon. Gentleman said that one of the purposes for which the United Nations went there was to play its part in the cold war. [Interruption.] That is what I understood. It certainly has been said by other hon. Members and I thought the right hon. Gentleman used that phrase.

Mr. Heath

This is like the rest of the inaccuracies in the speech of the hon. Member. What I said was that it was to prevent the Congo becoming a part of the cold war.

Mr. Warbey

In that connection the right hon. Gentleman referred to such matters as seizure by the United Nations and occupation by the United Nations of airfields and the broadcasting station at a critical moment when Mr. Lumumba's Government, the central Government, were in danger of being overthrown. In fact, that is the only action taken by the United Nations in the Congo which has been approved by Her Majesty's Government. Although this was not part of the purpose for which it was sent there, the noble Lord, Lord Hailsham, said in the debate in another place last July that the United Nations force was sent there in order to stop other countries flying in assistance to the Lumumba Government and it was for that purpose that it took control of the airfields and broadcasting stations. This part of it alone—the part that led to the downfall of the Lumumba Government—was approved by Her Majesty's Government. Nothing has been approved since then.

I thought that the right hon. Gentleman also said that the United Nations had a mission to restore and maintain internal order throughout the territory of the Congo by peaceful means only. It puzzles me a little to know how armed forces, in a country where other people are using armed forces to create disorder, can maintain internal order solely by peaceful means. It is on a par with the right hon. Member's later statement that the United Nations forces were to bring about the arrest and removal of the mercenaries and political advisers from the Katanga without using armed force.

In other words, the right hon. Gentleman wants to send an armed policeman to arrest an armed bandit, but when the armed bandit uses his revolver to resist arrest the right hon. Gentleman says that the armed policeman must not use his revolver. Is that what the right hon. Gentleman wants? Of course it follows that if we authorise the United Nations to bring about the removal of mercenaries and the removal of those mercenaries is resisted by force we must use what force is necessary to overcome that resistance. The right hon. Gentleman knows this to be true, and he knows, moreover, that it proved impossible to bring about the removal of the mercenaries without the use of force.

He has admitted that on 28th October the British Government intervened in order to stop the United Nations from using any force in arresting mercenaries, and to get an arrangement by which the mercenaries would be handed over or removed peacefully by the Tshombe regime. That was the first intervention by the British Government against an action of the United Nations, but it did not succeed. It failed completely. It is now clear not only that at least 100 mercenaries and political advisers were not handed over or removed but that since then their numbers have increased, so that they are now back to the 200, 300 or possibly 400 that were there before any removal started. There was a complete failure to carry out the decision of the Security Council solely by using peaceful means.

It then became apparent that as a result of the intervention by the British Government, acting together with the Belgian and French Governments, the removal of these mercenaries could be achieved only by the use of force. There then began the second operation of 13th September, in more difficult conditions than that of 28th October—because by this time the mercenaries had been warned and were able to make their preparations. It became difficult because of the policy of the British Government. But they then intervened again, in order to stop this action by the United Nations. They demanded a cease-fire. In other words, they demanded that the United Nations should call off its attempt to carry out its mandate from the Security Council.

On this occasion they intervened not publicly—as they would have had every right to do—but in violation of Article 100 of the Charter. They intervened privately, and put private pressure upon members of the Secretariat. This has been admitted by Lord Lansdowne in another place. If hon. Members will read the account of what took place in the debate of 18th October they will see that the noble Lord admitted that he was sent out with instructions from 'the British Government to have a private interview with the Secretary-General, to express strong criticism of Katanga and to ask for them to be brought to a halt.

I doubt whether the Lord Privy Seal would be prepared to deny that, because it is on the record, in the OFFICIAL REPORT of the House of Lords. I think that I am in order in quoting what was said by the noble Lord, since it was a statement made by a member of the Government. Lord Lansdowne said: much that I had to say to Mr. Hammarskjoeld was highly critical of the United Nations' action as I understood it…"—[OFFICIALREPORT, House of Lords; Vol. 234, c. 452.] What right had the British Government to send one of their Ministers on a secret mission to have a private interview with the Secretary-General and to make strong criticisms of the way in which the Secretary-General and his staff were carrying out the decisions of the United Nations? They had none whatsoever. This was a clear and direct violation of Article 100 of the Charter, under which they are pledged not to influence members of the Secretariat in the discharge of their responsibilities.

This is an admitted example, on the record. But the Government went further than that. They sought—and they were successful—to have Mr. Dayal sacked from his post in the Congo. Does the Lord Privy Seal deny that the British Government sought the removal of Mr. Dayal? The right hon. Gentleman seems to be otherwise occupied. No doubt he finds this question rather awkward. I will put it to him again. Does he deny that the British Government sought the removal of Mr. Dayal from the Congo? He does not deny it.

Mr. Heath

The hon. Member cannot use that technique. He has made so many extraordinary statements in his speech, which have borne absolutely no relationship to reality, that I have given up any idea of trying to correct him. He must draw the conclusion that I propose to make no comments of any kind on his speech.

Mr. Warbey

Since the right hon. Gentleman chose to intervene at that moment and failed to take the opportunity of his intervention to deny the charge I have made. I can only accept it as proved.

Sir T. Beamish

Certainly not.

Mr. Warbey

Moreover, Mr. Nehru has said publicly that the removal of Mr. Dayal from the Congo was brought about by pressure from Western countries, including this country. The Lord Privy Seal cannot deny this. I say that the process of removal of Mr. Dayal was a direct contravention of Article 100 of the United Nations Charter.

Now Dr. O'Brien has said that he, too, was sacked as a result of pressure exercised by the British Government. He says explicitly that Lord Lansdowne went to the Congo and told Mr. Hammarskjold that he—Dr. O'Brien—should be sacked. He made this specific charge, and I should like to know whether the Lord Privy Seal denies it, I do not think that he can. It is certainly a charge which should be denied and repudiated. If it is not, it means that, for the third time at least, the Government are convicted of having violated the Charter of the United Nations and of doing what they have so often accused the Soviet Government of doing, namely, attacking the Secretariat and trying to put pressure on it to do what it wants it to do in contravention of the Charter.

Why have they done all this? What is the reason? I should have thought that it has been made amply clear. The only justification given for it is in order to protect the regime of Mr. Tshombe. I have not seen any other justification for it. I do not think that hon. Members opposite would deny that this was the main purpose for which the Government intervened—in order to protect Mr. Tshombe and his regime, to protect a man who is in open rebellion against his own central Government, who has refused to accept the commissars of the central Government—

Sir Cyril Osborne (Louth)


Mr. Warbey

That was a slip. I meant to refer to commissioners. In fact, commissioners and commissars are the same thing in terminology. Mr. Tshombe has refused to accept in the Katanga the commissioners of the central Government and has threatened to use force against them if they are introduced there, a man who has employed foreign mercenaries to fight against United Nations troops and who, together with Mr. Munongo, is strongly suspected and is wanted for questioning in connection with the murder of Mr. Lumumba, the former head of the Congolese State.

This is the man whom the British Government are seeking to protect. Why? Because Mr. Tshombe, in his turn, is prepared to protect the financial interests of British, Belgian and French financiers in the copper mines of the Katanga.

Sir G. Nicholson

Does not the hon. Gentleman think it possible that we dislike murder, that we dislike Africans being bombed by British bombs, and that we dislike bloodshed, misery and people dying of starvation?

Mr. Warbey

I know that some hon. Members opposite do. The hon. Member for Farnham (Sir G. Nicholson), who has a very good record in the House, is very humane and generally is fairly objective. I therefore feel sure that he must have protested vehemently when British bombs were being dropped on Egyptian civilians. If he did not, the words that I should have to use about him are ones that I should not like to use, although I should certainly use them about some hon. Members who have not disguised their hypocritical attitude to this question and who have wept crocodile tears for selected Africans—Mr. Tshombe, but not Mr. Lumumba; Katangans, but not Egyptians or Kenyans.

There has clearly been this motive behind this all the time. It has been admitted by hon. Members that other financial interests are involved—American, as well as Belgian, French and Russian. They have all contributed to the latter day Das Kapital "which has been so amply illustrated by these events. The real struggle here is between the international class loyalty of hon. Members opposite and the United Nations, which is struggling to become what all of us in this House have declared we wish to see it become—a world authority capable of making and enforcing the peace. We are witnessing that struggle taking place in the Congo, and it is hon. Members opposite who want to weaken the United Nations at this vital time.

8.41 p.m.

Sir Harry Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)

I must sit down by ten minutes to nine. I therefore hope that hon. Members will help me in my wish not to prolong my speech.

The hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Warbey) reminded me so dreadfully of the Irishman who, long after the English had left, said, "The cursed English! I always said that if they ever left this country we should go to rack and ruin. Now the devils have gone and left us on our own on purpose to bring the country down." The hon. Gentleman seems so determined to blame us for everything. He gave us no credit for anything and encouraged our enemies. I can only suppose that the readers of Pravda will be rejoicing in his speech tomorrow morning.

I think that those of us who have listened to the debate from the beginning will agree that there has never been a time when a clear judgment was required more than now, particularly from Her Majesty's Government. As I see it, the principal dangers are these. The United Nations—and I ask particularly those who have supported the United Nations tonight to listen to this—risks its forces becoming involved in an operation far in excess of the mandate given to it by the resolutions authorising both the restoration and the maintenance of law and order in the Congo and the removal of foreign mercenaries.

The prospect now, I believe, is a fight to the death in an internal dispute which the United Nations has neither the right nor the ability to decide. If, as is, I fear, by no means certain, the United Nations wins this operation, it will then be obliged to become what will amount to a colonial administrative power, a rôle which again it has neither the right nor ability to fulfil.

I must admit that I agree more than I ever expected to agree with the speech of the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway). For the Congo, there is the prospect of Balkanisation into separate States at least one of which would sooner or later become a Communist puppet, and that surely is the very microbe which the United Nations' doctor was commissioned to prevent taking hold upon the patient.

Grave as all these dangers are, those confronting the United Kingdom herself are appalling. Of all these, I believe that none is worse than the risk of giving the impression to the world of inconsistency. If we come to the conclusion that doubts about the way in which the campaign is being conducted are so serious as to dictate the withholding of arms, then not only is it inconsistent to continue to support the operation in any way, but—and here I disagree with many of my hon. Friends—I believe that it is logically inconsistent with remaining a member of the United Nations.

Conversely, if we regard our membership of the United Nations as essential—whatever I may have thought about the United Nations ever being created and the fallacies upon which it was founded, nevertheless I think that as long as it exists we must be a member of it—I fear that we must face the consequences of having to support the organisation and share in the responsibility for all that is done in its name, however much we may rightly do our best to guide its action and however well or however badly we succeed in that enterprise.

I believe that we shall certainly win no respect at all, nor shall we appear to be consistent, if we only support collective action of which we approve and play the rôle of Pontius Pilate over the actions we dislike. To opt out of the Congo action now, assuming that the United Nations does not order a cease fire, would at once undermine not only the multi-racial relationships we hope for in other African territories which regard Tshombe, I fear, as the blackest blackleg of all blacks, but we also risk dividing the Commonwealth, dividing the Anglo-American Alliance, and dividing the entire free World in its fight against communism.

In attempting to avoid the charge of inconsistency being levelled against us, and of causing disunity in the free world, we would do well to remember that the rôle of the prophet in the context of our affairs is reserved for the statesman, which I am not, rather than for the politician, which I am. Grave, indeed, are the dangers that beset any man who sees in his own status the opportunity for prognostication. I suspect that no peril greater than this threatens the men who have to guide our country's destiny, and no Minister is more tempted to pit his courage against such risks than a Prime Minister.

It is both the duty and the right of the present Prime Minister, as of his predecessors, and as it will be of his successors, to cast his mind forward as often as possible and seek to mould the minds of his Cabinet colleagues into a form of thinking consistent with his own appreciation of the likelihood of events. I can conceive of no more agonising mental torture than that which comes to an imaginative mind whose interpretation of human destiny is one of impending doom.

There is much in the world today, and not least in the issues before us in this debate, that would compel any student of world affairs or any stateman to survey the potentialities of Armageddon more realistically than those of Utopia. Yet, however attuned to such exercises a man's intellect may be, he has always to remember that he, no less than his contem- poraries, is of mortal clay and, therefore, fallible in his judgment, whether of things past, things present or things to come. Especially is an awareness of this truth important when the man himself is gifted with a superlative capacity for surveying the world horizons.

Yet I would maintain that, however courageous, however reluctant to accept the doubts about ever having the opportunity of realising his highest hopes, no man whose ability to reason has brought him to the conclusion that mankind is condemned to eventual self-destruction should remain in charge of his country's affairs. For it is my firm belief that such a conclusion must inevitably colour a man's thinking to such a degree as to distort his judgment on matters of moment and so deprive him of consistency of thought and action.

Today, our greatest needs are sound faith, sound judgment, and consistent action. If I were convinced that in their recent handling of events Her Majesty's Government had demonstrated these qualities, no one would support them more readily than I. But it is precisely this that they have failed to do. Because I sense in this failure a weakening of their faith in the eventual fulfilment of man's divine purpose on earth, I find it impossible to support them in the Lobby tonight. But I pray that my abstention may at least help them to examine their own hearts as deeply as their actions in recent days have caused me to examinmine.

8.50 p.m.

Mr. Hugh Gaitskell (Leeds, South)

The Lord Privy Seal, at the beginning of his speech, challenged us on our attitude to the proposed cease-fire and I should like at once to take up that challenge. We favour a cease-fire in the Congo provided that it is permanent and calculated to achieve the objects of the United Nations intervention. Let there be no misunderstanding about that. I must, however, add that we were not prepared simply to acquiesce in the Government Motion without a word of our own, for a large number of reasons.

First, the Government Motion implies, in a rather extraordinary way, that the United Nations has to achieve the ceasefire on its own. The only conclusion which can be drawn from that is that the United Nations has been responsible for starting the fighting. We are not prepared to accept that. If the Government disagree with what I am saying, will they explain why there is not one word about Mr. Tshombe in the Motion?

The second reason why we are not prepared to acquiesce in the Motion is that it does not take into account, or make plain, that there was a cease-fire quite recently and that, clearly, it did not work. Therefore, merely to accept a Motion of this kind would suggest that we had learned no lessons from what has happened in the last two months.

The third reason why we were not prepared to accept the Motion in that form without putting down our own views is that we could not favour any suggestion which might have led to the cutting off of the United Nations forces and their subsequent annihilation. It is foolish to pretend that a cease-fire in the sense of a stopping of hostilities by the United Nations at this moment might not end—indeed, might not lead—to precisely that result.

It is, no doubt, for these reasons that the proposal of the Government, put forward in this sudden and surprising manner, has not been supported by other Governments. The right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) drew attention to the attitude of N.A.T.O. He seemed to suggest that N.A.T.O. had reached agreement in some form to support the Government's policy. That is not so. All that has been reported is, no official statement, but indications of support from some members of N.A.T.O. I am not surprised. I would think it perfectly natural that Portugal would support the British Government. I would not be surprised if Belgium did. I would not be surprised if France did. What has happened is that a group of ex-colonial Powers have supported the British Government [Interruption.] There is no evidence whatever that Norway or Denmark have supported the British Government, or Canada, and I should be surprised if this were to be the case. If any hon. Member knows to the contrary, I hope that he will tell me so, but, certainly, I have not read anything which suggests anything of the kind.

It is not surprising that other countries have been hesitant to support the British Government in this matter. I particularly draw attention to the statement made by Mr. George Ball, in Washington, as to the United States attitude. This seems to me a perfectly reasonable attitude to adopt. The United States said she was in favour of a cease-fire provided that the limited objectives of the United Nations had been achieved. Mr. Ball went on to make plain that those limited objectives were the security of the United Nations forces. [Interruption.] I do not know why hon. Members opposite are making noises about that.

One of the most interesting questions in this debate is what exactly are the differences between ourselves and the American Government on this matter. Little has been said about it so far. I hope that the Prime Minister will deal with it, for he will agree that any divergence on a matter of this degree of importance between America and ourselves is serious. I have no desire to broaden that difference. Nevertheless, it is important that the country and the world should know exactly where we stand. So I put this question to the Prime Minister: will he say what he disagrees with in Mr. Ball's statement that was printed in The Times and in other newspapers this morning?

Finally, we all know that this Motion was just a last-minute device to demonstrate the magnificent, monolithic, indestructible unity of the Tory Party; otherwise, it is very difficult to understand why the Government waited until Tuesday evening to come forward with this proposal. It is extraordinarily hard to understand how they managed to switch from the proposal to hand over the bombs last Thursday night, to the decision not to authorise the bombs on Monday and to the decision to propose a cease-fire on Tuesday. I hope that we are not to have any more nonsense about this. Everbody knows that this is the case, and it is far simpler to admit it, as, indeed, the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) did in the speech quoted by my right hon. Friend.

There is another objection which I have to this Motion, and, frankly, it is that I do not think that it deals with the real issues which we should be discussing and which, to a large extent, we have been discussing this afternoon. These seem to me to be, first, should the United Nations be in the Congo at all? When I say the United Nations I mean the United Nations force. Secondly, if so, for what purpose and with what powers and authority? Thirdly, has the policy of the Government been such as to justify the support of this House and the country? These are the real issues that arise today, and to these I will now turn my attention.

First, should the United Nations be in the Congo at all? I think that some hon. Members will probably say that they should not be there, and I can understand their reasoning. It could be argued that what is happening in the Congo is an internal affair, that it is little more than a tribal struggle, that it is something which is not the concern of the United Nations because it is internal, and that it is a dispute about the constitution and the form of Government and that it is certainly not the business of the United Nations to intervene in any dispute between a province wishing to gain its independence and the Government of the territory, such as it is.

The logic of that argument is that Katanga should be allowed to secede, and that Mr. Tshombe is perfectly entitled to acquiescence, if not support, in his declaration that Katanga is an independent nation. Though I understand it, I regard his point of view as both wrong and dangerous. I believe myself that if the United Nations forces had not gone into the Congo, in all probability, there would have been grave starvation—heaven knows, it was bad enough, in any event—a great many massacres—and there were some, in any case—civil war continuing for perhaps a long time, and what, in a sense, concerns us all even more—international complications.

Indeed, hon. Members will recall—and I put this particularly to those who are opposed to the United Nations being there—that when independence came to the Congo, when the mutiny took place, the Congolese Government asked for assistance from the United Nations and Katanga declared its independence, there was a very real possibility of the Congo becoming a focus of international conflict.

There were very real possibilities on one side, that the Russians would send in supplies by air. There were, I believe, plans to that effect. On the other side, if that had happened, I do not doubt that the West would have had to take such steps as seemed appropriate. Let us at least remember that the presence of the assembled United Nations forces at that time—assembled very quickly—probably prevented this from happening. By the same token, I hold that if the United Nations forces were now to be withdrawn, precisely the same dangers would arise. Only they would be worse as far as the world as a whole is concerned, because such a withdrawal would indicate a really appalling failure on the part of the United Nations as well, and the effect on its reputation in the world as a whole, and particularly among the African and Asian peoples, would be catastrophic.

This is our view as to what would happen if the United Nations forces withdrew. We believe that just the same danger of intervention would occur. No doubt Katanga would declare and maintain its independence. But what would there be to prevent Mr. Gizenga in Orientale Province making the same declaration of independence and, having done so, as an independent State, what would prevent his inviting the assistance of the Soviet Union? I believe that all this would happen if the United Nations withdrew and I want to know categorically whether that is the Government's view as well.

If that is their view, will the Prime Minister say what his attitude is to the Amendment which some of his hon. Friends have put on the Order Paper, demanding that if the cease-fire proposals of Her Majesty's Government are not accepted we should cut off our financial contribution to the Congo operation? It is essential that their attitude should be made absolutely plain tonight. If, as I trust, the Government agree that the United Nations must stay, several questions follow.

The first of these relates to the unity of the Congo. This continual reiteration on the part of the Government that they are opposed to the imposition of a political settlement in the Congo by the United Nations really is a red herring. Nobody has suggested that. To have referred to the question asked by my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) in terms that suggested that he favoured this solution was quite absurd of the Lord Privy Seal. All my right hon. Friend was doing was asking a perfectly reasonable question: if it is the view of the Government that a settlement should not be imposed, then why is the United Nations force there? I know that it has been suggested that United Nations officials have talked in these terms. As far as I am aware, every single one of these suggestions has been repudiated.

The Government say that they support the unity of the Congo and oppose the secession of Katanga under Mr. Tshombe. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order."] I am sure that the hon. and gallant Member for Knutsford (Sir W. Bromley-Davenport) meant no discourtesy. Perhaps he does not always realise the power of his voice.

The Government opposed the secession of Katanga, but they are aware that Mr. Tshombe has declared the independence of Katanga already. How seriously do the Government oppose secession? Do they agree that it is essential if the Congo is to survive, that Katanga must be part of it? Do they also agree that the Union Minière revenues should be paid to the central Government of the Congo? It is not enough for the Prime Minister to reply, as he did in answer to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Liberal Party on this very point, simply by saying: …I have no doubt that the companies operating in Katanga pay revenue, according to the law, to the country.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th December, 1961; Vol. 650, c. 1532.] What on earth does that mean? According to what law? Can we have a clear answer from the Government as to whether they think what is being done with these revenues is or is not legal? Further if Katanga remains separate as it is at the moment—I am not thinking of de jure recognition, or anthing of that kind—are they not worried about the danger of Orientale also becoming a separate State? If they do, does it not occur to them that these very dangers I have referred to—intervention from outside—might then occur?

We cannot judge the situation without taking into account all these possibilities. Certainly, the efforts which have so far been made to try to achieve the integration of Katanga in the Congo in some form or other have been markedly unsuccessful. One comes, therefore, to the question: what is the obstacle? There is not much doubt about that. We believe that the main obstacle is the continued presence of European troops—mercenaries as they are called—who are bitterly opposed to the idea of Katanga being part of the Congo and are effectively in charge of the military operations on the Katanga side.

This is fundamental. It is certainly fundamental for the United Nations. I must ask the Government whether they agree that this is a major obstacle to the unity of the Congo. Do they agree, for instance, that, if the mercenaries could be got rid of and turned out altogether, it would be a great deal easier to achieve the kind of settlement we want? That I believe to be the view of the overwhelming majority of the members of the United Nations.

If that is the case, is it not obvious, also, that their continued presence in the Congo, precisely because they are foreign, involves the risk of international complications? So far, I am glad to say, in other provinces we have not had similar mercenaries from other countries, but we could have them. That could easily happen. In these circumstances, it becomes imperative that they should be got rid of from the Congo altogether.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) referred to the sort of people they are. I do not want to be in the least unfair. I do not doubt that, as the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) said, some of these men are Belgians who have been living in Katanga for many years, but there is no denying that a number of them are French soldiers of fortune—perhaps the sort of people who are on the run from President de Gaulle at the present time.

Sir C. Osborne

How many?

Mr. Gaitskell

A matter of hundreds, which is quite sufficient in this case.

What then should be done? The Government say, "Oh, they must go, but we must not use force to get them out". But suppose they do not go when we do not use force?

Viscount Hinchingbrooke (Dorset, South)

Bomb them?

Mr. Gaitskell

I hope that the "right hon. Gentleman"—as I suppose I should now call the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke)—will listen to the argument. It is an important one. If it is desirable to get rid of the mercenaries, and the Government say that force is not to be used, how is it to be done?

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Bomb them?

Mr. Gaitskell

What if they will not go without the use of force? I ask the "right hon. Gentleman" because I assume that he has moved to the Front Bench opposite and has taken over the government of the country.

The Government say that everything was going all right in August and that an effort was made to get rid of the mercenaries. Up to a point, an effort was made, but the United Nations report on this matter said: In the morning and again in the afternoon of 28 August, U.N. representatives met with the Elisabethville Consular Corps at their request to discuss repatriation procedures. The Belgian Consul, who presided…stated that by arrangement with his colleagues he would undertake the responsibility for ensuring the surrender and repatriation and travel of all personnel required to be evacuated, irrespective of their nationality…The United Nations agreed to this evacuation procedure on condition that the evacuation would not thereby be delayed and that the United Nations retained the exclusive authority to decide who should be evacuated and when. On this understanding"— this was the crucial decision— the United Nations refrained from continuing to search for and apprehend foreign military personnel. Unfortunately, these arrangements were not scrupulously observed. Only the officers already stationed in the Belgian Consulate building and officers of the Belgian Army…were dealt with under this procedure, and even in the case of these officers delays or administrative exemptions were proposed. The foreign officers and mercenaries, profiting from this relaxation of evacuation measures, re-infiltrated into the Gendarmerie, and there were indications that they began distributing arms to certain political or ethnic groups. The promise of evacuation was never carried out. The result is that there are today a substantial number of these foreign mercenaries still in Katanga, still in control of the operations, and still providing the major obstacle to the political unity of the Congo.

I turn to the latest position. The Government were critical of the United Nations action in September. The facts are in dispute, but I will not weary the House with that, because we have discussed it before. What are the latest facts which are available? The ceasefire, negotiated after the regrettable, the deplorable death of Mr. Hammarskjold was broken. Why was it broken? Who broke it?

The Lord Privy Seal mentioned four events: First, Mr. Tshombe's provocative speeches—[Interruption.]—I am speaking of what the Lord Privy Seal said this afternoon; secondly, the attacks on Mr. Ivan Smith and Mr. Urquhart; thirdly, the establishment of a road block between the airport and the United Nations headquarters in Elisabethville and the refusal of the Katangan authorities, or their inability, to remove this block; finally, the seizure of 11 United Nations personnel who were then held as hostages. Who was responsible for this? Was it the United Nations who broke the cease-fire? Is it not perfectly evident that it was Mr. Tshombe himself, or the mercenaries whom he could not control?

There is other evidence. I quote from the Economist of 9th December about the attitude in the United Nations on this matter: The battle that erupted on Tuesday was not planned by the United Nations. It was not an action to clear out Katanga's mercenaries and militant Europeans that the Security Council authorised on 24th November…Nor was it a simple United Nations reaction to the brutal provocations of recent days. It seems completely clear in New York that the United Nations force was ordered into action only in the face of obvious preparations for a full scale attack on it, including the stealthy blocking of its most vital lines of communication under cover of a fog of assurances, generously but mistily emitted by Mr. Tshombe's representatives … If that is the case—and I do not think that the Lord Privy Seal will deny it—it is clear that the United Nations action in this last week was taken purely in self-defence. I want to ask the Government another direct question. [Interruption.] I think that the evidence is overwhelming on this subject.

I want to ask whether the Government support the United Nations in defending themselves. It would be a good thing if we could have a clear answer. We ought for a moment to remember who the United Nations forces are—Indians, Swedes, Irish, Nigerians, Malayans, many of them soldiers of the Commonwealth. They are doing a job there because their Governments have supported the United Nations. They are risking their lives for a cause which their Governments have supported.

Frankly, I have been disgusted with the kind of implications which hon. Members opposite have been making. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] It is all the more regrettable since they come from those who claim, on other occasions, to be the staunchest supporters of the Commonwealth. They swallow any old atrocity story they get hold of. Do they realise that every single one of these stories has been denied?

Where do these stores come from? I quote from the Daily Telegraph of yesterday: Elisabethville. United Nations jet fighters making repeated strikes in southern Katanga today shot up a hospital…near Jadotville, killing a child and wounding eight women in a maternity ward, according to the Belgian mining company Union Minière." We all know perfectly well that a stream of lies and propaganda has been poured out by public relations experts employed for this purpose. I have never thought that public relations firms in internal politics were very pretty, but when they are brought into international affairs, they are a grave menace.

Finally, we have the extraordinary story of the bombs. We now know from what the Lord Privy Seal has told us that as long ago as 21st October the Government were asked to supply 24 1,000 lb. bombs.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

What did they want them for?

Mr. Gaitskell

I am coming to that.

The Government took their time to answer—some weeks—but that is perfectly understandable. What is not understandable is that, according to what the Prime Minister told me on Tuesday, they did not consult the United States Government about the sort of answer which they should give. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why should they?"] They did not. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why should they?"] The Prime Minister's answer to me was that he did not think that it would be "natural" to do so. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why should they?"] I should have thought that even hon. Members opposite would think it a good thing, in a matter of this vital importance, that we should try to keep in step with our strongest and greatest ally.

It would not have been surprising if the Government had queried—as hon. Members on both sides of the House have—the military case for these immense bombs. I would have well understood if they had said that they had told the United Nations that they could not see why these bombs were needed, and that if the United Nations really needed help in destroying aircraft on the ground, they would be prepared to offer them the small fragmentation bombs which are appropriate in these cases.

I would have understood that, and this is one of the things which I hope the Prime Minister will clear up. Was he satisfied, at least last Thursday night, that the military case for these bombs had been made out? Certainly, the Government were satisfied of the political necessity for them, because that the Lord Privy Seal has admitted. He made it plain in his statement on Monday that they were needed to protect United Nations forces, including those from Commonwealth countries, against air attack. That is on the record, and there is no need to dispute the matter.

If the case for providing the United Nations forces with bombs—which, apparently, according to Her Majesty's Government, were militarily required for the protection of the United Nations forces—was good last Thursday night, why is it no longer valid tonight? I hope that we shall not have trotted out to us all these absurd excuses about obscure remarks made, or alleged to have been made, by United Nations officials. Nobody believes this. All that this attempt to pretend that there was a different reason from the real one for the Government's change of front does is to expose the hopeless inefficiency of the Foreign Office.

My right hon. Friend's speech this afternoon was a devastating exposure of the hypocrisy of the Government. It is no part of our case to pretend that the Congo is not a difficult problem. Obviously it is. It presents the United Nations with probably the greatest challenge it has faced, but I venture to say that that is all the more reason why, in every possible way, we should have given maximum support to the United Nations in this whole affair.

Nobody outside this country believes that we have done so. We are lined up, as we have been on other occasions, with the ex-colonial European States, with Portugal, with Belgium, and with the same group with whom we were lined up over Angola, and with whom we used to line up before South Africa left the Commonwealth. Her Majesty's Government are under the gravest suspicion of being influenced by European financial interests. We have, in consequence, now become separated in this matter from every other Commonwealth country and from our closest and greatest ally. This is our indictment of the Government, whose weakness, pusillanimity and vacillation only show the utter decay into which they have fallen.

9.24 p.m.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Gaitskell) wound up the debate by putting, as is his wont, a number of questions. I shall try to cover the major points he raised.

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman because he quite clearly showed what we all feel, the anxiety over this matter, and the deep desire of everybody in the House, whatever his party, that peace and reconciliation should return to the Congo. I will only say that there are different kinds of peace. There is a famous epigram about a Roman conqueror who made a desert and called it peace. We do not want to see that in Katanga.

The Lord Privy Seal, in a very balanced speech, was answered by a speech which reminded me of the usual smears in which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) engages. That right hon. Gentleman tried all that stuff about big business with Lord Poole, but it did not go over very well. He dealt with the history of the past, but I do not want to go into the past. [Interruption.] It has been discussed in detail. I wish to say only that the past has shown, over a long period, the firm support that we have given, in money, materials and help, throughout this whole operation.

I come to the question of conciliation, and really the period beginning in September. We were in favour, of course, of removing the mercenaries. We did all we could to help. We wondered in September whether the methods used, leading to so much destruction and so many deaths, were really tolerable. It was for that reason that we appealed to the former Secretary-General and for that reason, after discussions with Lord Lansdowne, that it was the Secretary-General who decided that a cease-fire was necessary. It was he who did it.

We tried all we could for a negotiation between Tshombe and Adoula. Reference to this has already been made by my hon. Friends below the Gangway. We tried to establish a basis on which a unified Congo could function in peace and work out its destiny. We did not succeed. Unhappily, all those countries working with us—owing to conflicts which are only too well known—[Interruption.] In any case we tried to establish a meeting between Adoula and Tshombe, and so did our American friends along with us.

We tried with our Ambassador at Leopoldville and our Consul at Elisabethville, and it would be right for me now to pay tribute to the remarkable men we have had to represent our country during this crisis. Early in the year hopes were high. September put them back. We tried again. Then Adoula, as Premier of the whole of the Congo, suggested that Tshombe should go to Leopoldville. Tshombe refused, partly from fear as well as from dignity.

I believe we then suggested, and I think the Americans had the same idea, that Tshombe and Adoula might meet on mutual ground—perhaps in a boat or on a raft in the river and I think that the Americans even suggested an aeroplane. We have had no success so far. That is more likely to come when the fighting has stopped and a period of recovery has been allowed. Of course it is possible that Tshombe, obviously a very difficult man—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—yes, they are all very difficult characters; all fairly tough characters. It is possible that he may fall. He may be destroyed, perhaps by shell fire. His administration may collapse. What worries me is not so much that there will not be a meeting, but that the United Nations will find itself with a province as large as France on its hands and no means at all of governing it.

We have had some experience in our long history of how one can get led into one thing after another and how easy it is to get in—[Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, South talks of colonial Powers as if they were all part of a plan. He knows as well as I do that the great Imperial position in India and all over the world was built up bit by bit because the country got into the position where it had to assume responsibility for good administration, and what I fear most is what happens if we destroy the Government of Katanga.

I must say something about the incident of the bombs because I am responsible for it. I very much welcomed the support of the right hon. Member for Huyton when he said that we were absolutely right not to give bombs without these very clear restrictive conditions. Of course, that is the reason why the negotiations went on for so long. I shall refer to that later. It was because we wanted to maintain these conditions and there was a natural desire of the command to get them without conditions. Of course, it was a difficult decision. I agree exactly with what the right hon. Gentleman has said. We were told that there were troops of friendly countries who had gone in in good faith—four Commonwealth countries—who might be subject to serious attack from the air unless these aeroplanes and airfields could be dealt with.

We knew that these were not the best weapons. For the purpose for which they were needed rockets would be more effective than fragmentation bombs. But aiming rockets calls for great skill by the pilot, and, therefore, in all the cir- cumstances there was a case for the bombs. We discussed it with a great deal of concern. We reached the decision on Thursday night. It was sent to New York at eleven o'clock our time, six o'clock their time. It was not announced until Friday. I shall tell the right hon. Gentleman why it was not announced—because when they got it they came back again and preferred them without these restrictions. That was because they wanted a wider range for the use of this bomb, and it was only after a further day's discussion that we finally agreed on the restriction, and that took up the time from the Thursday to the Friday.

I was, in a way, rather relieved on the Friday morning when I was told that they would not have them with the restrictions but the argument went back and forth and it was finally settled. Of course, I knew there were dangers. There were dangers both ways. We have been accused of letting down the troops if we had not given them. Then I learned on Sunday the messages about the statements. I am not going to put too great a weight on them, but they were so alarming and there have been so many versions that I have provided myself with the last version, from The Times yesterday. What happened was that over the tape machine the question and answer got mixed up. This was the question: If the military strength on which a political regime is based is crushed, does that not mean that the régime must collapse? The answer was: Hypothetically seen, yes. If the noble Lord below the Gangway were asked what the result would be if he and his friends carried a Motion of censure against the Government, would it mean the fall of the Government and the Prime Minister'?, he could, of course, say, "Hypothetically seen, yes." I should expect him to say something rather more robust, but it would come to the same thing. Anyway, the reports of these statements alarmed us. They alarmed the Americans. They alarmed the Secretary-General. That was why the Secretary-General issued, not an exact dementi, but a restatement, as soon as he could, of what he regarded to he the proper purpose.

If there is one thing I deeply regret—and, of course, I apologise for it—it is that the Lord Privy Seal did not get on Monday the telegram about the correction in the Sunday paper. I must admit that here Transport House beat the Foreign Office in speed—[Interruption.]—but then private enterprise always wins. The statement of the Secretary-General still seemed to us somewhat equivocal. What we were worried about was how far were the military limited to securing the safety of the United Nations force? Of course, we accept what we were told. That was one of the questions asked. There may be difficulties on what are the real tactical needs to secure the safety of a force, but of course we accept that.

There may be a difference in arranging cease-fire conditions and how they can best be secured, but we were worried whether it was really to maintain the safety, that is, of the airport and headquarters, or whether some more far-reaching operations were being envisaged. It was that which concerned us. Lastly, when I heard, to my surprise, on Monday morning that these bombs, which were demanded from us as a matter of urgency to protect the lives of Commonwealth and other troops, were not even wanted until the next Friday—

Mr. Gaitskell

You had six weeks.

The Prime Minister

They could have collected them at once. If this were so urgent, why did they not send to collect them? They were already on the airfield on the Saturday. Then I wondered whether it was that with the limitation and the strings on them they were not now so urgent.

I see that it has been suggested in some of the Press—and it has been repeated in the debate—that the terms in which the United Nations authorities withdrew their request for the bomb were something of a snub for Her Majesty's Government. It could be interpreted quite differently. We shall not know until we know whether they succeed in getting bombs from elsewhere with or without strings. There were all these arguments, but what was really worrying us was not the statements of the officials—not even by Mr. O'Brien and the others who have happily left, or the new ones. What worried us was what was happening, the extension of fighting, and the apparent amount of operations which seemed more than was necessary for the sole purpose of securing the tactical safety of a force holding a position in a town and wanting to keep a road open and an airfield at its disposal.

It was these reports and these factors which convinced us that something must be done to end the fighting as the first priority as soon as it could properly be done. Of course, one cannot get a cease-fire in half an hour. Arrangements, discussions and positions have to be agreed. But we came to the conclusion that in this situation the first thing needed was to get a cease-fire. The fighting was getting worse. Its scope was extending. There were reports of attacks on industrial installations far away from the airport. This is inevitable perhaps, in war, but it will have a tragic effect upon the life of Katanga and the Congo.

Britain has a fairly long experience of trying to get decisions by force. In Cyprus we had to have twenty-two major units. If the feeling of the people is against one, in one way or another, one cannot get decisions by force. That is why I went to Athens and to Turkey, and that is why, as Foreign Secretary, I worked so hard to get a settlement of that situation, among others. Even if Elisabethville is captured after street fighting, street by street, I doubt whether there will be peace for the United Nations force. Some of us have had experience of soldiering under these conditions, and they are very disagreeable.

If the Katanga Government falls, who will run the province—without an administration, even a colonial administration? Because the Great Powers cannot have arms and cannot have skilled administrators there, the United Nations does not have people who are skilled in this form of administration or who have a life-long tradition in it. Therefore, it is obviously necessary to get a cease-fire as soon as possible.

The Amendment refers to efforts to restore law and order and prevent civil war. That is the real point. But the United Nations force has a right and a duty to take up positions and defend them to prevent civil war. What has alarmed us about the operations going on now is that they are not stopping civil war. It is not a war between two African groups. What is so terrible is the fact that this peaceful instrument, the United Nations, is not preventing civil war. This is a battle between the United Nations and the Katanga people. Therefore, recognising all the difficulties and remembering so much of past history in connection with these kinds of events, I fear that we may find the United Nations slipping into a war of conquest and then having to set up an administration. That is not their mandate, and not their business.

The right hon. Gentleman was very scornful about the reception given to our cease-fire proposal. He said that it was welcomed in N.A.T.O., but they are only Europeans. [Interruption.] He referred to the same old group. It consists of Germany, France, Italy, Belgium and Holland, among others, with whom we work day by day to defend ourselves. Our proposal has also been well received at home, as I believe will be shown tonight in the House.

I now want to come particularly to the position as between us and the United States. The right hon. Gentleman said—I do not know whether it was said with his tongue in his cheek—that it would be absolutely fatal for a British Government ever to get into a position of difficulty with the United States, and that we should do as much as possible to avoid it. [Interruption.] At any rate, he went very far in that direction. It shows the different approach we have to the problem. But here is the man who has asked us to have a deep and bitter quarrel with the United States about China—a quarrel which I fear we shall have. It will came next week, when the vote is taken. We cannot avoid it. We shall vote in the way we think right. I am not ashamed of putting up a different point of view, and I am sure that our friendships with the United States are quite strong enough to stand it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Did you consult them?"] Of course, we did not consult them; nor have they consulted us about the arms that they have sent. I should not expect them to consult us about the aeroplanes, arms and jets that they are sending to the United Nations. The United Nations asked us to send these arms, and we raised questions only because we doubted whether the weapons requested were suitable for the purpose.

There is no difference about the long-term aims. We both believe in the unity of the Congo, and conciliation as a method of achieving it. Neither of us wants the United Nations to impose a settlement by force. I can assure the House that we are in very close contact with our American friends at every level. They are as conscious as we are of the dangers. The only difference is that they, perhaps, have a different view of the precise tactical position which should be secured in the airport and town before a cease-fire could operate. In other words, they suggest conditions for a cease-fire.

I recognise that if negotiations for a cease-fire started tomorrow there would have to be negotiations and conditions, but we feel that to impose too severe conditions might prolong the fighting without real advantage and with real danger. As I say, it is of great importance that we should move as closely as possible with the United States. We are in touch with them all the time on this matter. I think that our views are coming closer to theirs all the time. Before the debate ends I shall have an opportunity to make an announcement to the House which I think will show that that is so. At any rate, we shall be able to discuss these matters later.

I have a few minutes left in which I should like to answer some of the points raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton). I was sorry that I was not able to be here to hear his speech. I was out for a very short time. It comes down to the question of what are to be our relations with the United Nations, assuming that we can make no progress in our hopes.

First, I would say this. I have heard many good speeches which have repeated it, but it is always worth reminding ourselves of it. The United Nations' procedure is a very difficult procedure to operate effectively. There is this extraordinary system of voting. A country has to veto the whole of a resolution if one part of it is distasteful to it. The United Nations is, through the Security Council, trying to act as a kind of political directive of what is now a military operation, but it has no chiefs of staff as we understand it. It has a very loose chain of command and the great difficulty is that the people in the Security Council are bitterly divided.

Mr. Stonehouse

Not on this.

The Prime Minister

There are the Communists and the anti-Communists, the Russians vetoing one part—[HON. MEMBERS: "They are united on this."] No, they are not. They are bitterly divided in the whole attitude towards life.

It is sometimes difficult to deal with the political part of a military operation even when allies are closely connected, fighting the same enemy and working towards the same end. I have some recollection of it in North Africa in 1942 and 1943. Britain and America were fighting Germans. We were agreed about that. Where we got into trouble was in dealing with the political situation—the Vichy admirals, de Gaulle, Giraud and the complicated political situation in France. Yet we were allies. It took us quite a time to sort it out and to get an agreed position.

In the United Nations, there is a number of countries represented in the Security Council—eleven Members bitterly divided between the Communists and the Western and allied Powers. Those are difficulties which we cannot remove. Nevertheless, we have given our full support and have given everything for which we have been asked and done all that we could to help.[HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."]

There is the question of the monetary subscription. I believe that we are one of the—is it?—nine Powers which have paid up as against eighty-seven which have not. The curious thing is—and I want to deal with this point because it is important—that there are two forms of subscription to the Congo. There is the compulsory subscription and the voluntary subscription. The only difference between them is this. The compulsory is the one that you do not pay if you do not want to, and the voluntary is the one that you need not pay unless you wish to. At present, Russia, which solemnly votes on and vetoes resolutions on this matter, has not paid a penny either by way of compulsory or voluntary subscription.

The problem therefore arises: what is the line that we should take? My right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton and other hon. Members suggested that we ought perhaps. to consider whether we could get satisfaction from our appeal to the Secretary-General, if we could not get movement by this or other means, if we cut off our voluntary subscription. I will be frank and say that that does not attract me as a gesture which would be either effective or very dignified.

Mr. Turton

Will my right hon. Friend recollect that Sir Patrick Dean, at the United Nations, said that that was a contingency if we disagreed with the policy of the United Nations? Will he realise that the request is that, if this bombing of industrial targets continues, we should refuse to pay the voluntary subscription?

The Prime Minister

To do that now just because we cannot get, or do not happen to get, an immediate reply to what we want is not reasonable. There are other things that we can do. We can go to the Security Council. We have the opportunity of further discussion with the Americans, which will come to us very soon, in the next few days.

I would, therefore, ask hon. Members not to press us to take action prematurely which I think would be ineffective and which I believe we should all regret. It would be a bad decision—it might even be a tragic decision—if we were to take action which made people think that that we were abandoning the United Nations at a critical moment merely because we disagreed with a particular operation or with the method of a particular operation. I say firmly that I am against that, although I have not hesitated to give the criticism that we have against the operation and the hopes that we have to influence it in a different direction.

I am encouraged to some extent towards this view because I have just received the preliminary answer of the Secretary-General to our proposal. It is written in the form of a letter to Sir Patrick Dean which arrived an hour or two ago, and it reads: Dear Sir Patrick, You have expressed to me certain anxieties of your Government as to the aims and objectives of the United Nations in the Congo. In reply, I would reaffirm that my aim and objective, and that of the United Nations Civil and Military authorities in the Congo, is to achieve the solution of the differences between the Central Government and the Provincial authorities in Katanga, in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly. I would remind you that, in interpreting the authority placed in my hands by the Security Council on November 24, 1961, I said among other things…' In my view, national reconciliation should figure in our attempts to restore law and order in the Republic of the Congo.' Earlier in the same statement I said. 'Above all, I may assure you that the United Nations will continue and even redouble its attempts to achieve reconciliation, by peaceful means, of course, of the sharp differences which now seriously endanger the unity of the country.' I reaffirm what I said then, and to this end I have sent to Leopoldville two of my colleagues who have been most closely associated with the United Nations operations in the Congo to seek to achieve the objectives outlined above. The two gentlemen who have been chosen are gentlemen in whom we, and I think everybody else, have confidence. They are Dr. Bunche and Mr. Gardiner. It is at least a hopeful first reply to our proposal that they are to be immediately dispatched to Leopoldville. [Interruption.] I am encouraged by this, because we have the possibility of assisting, with our representatives at Leopoldville and Elisabethville, as well as with the American Ambassador at Leopoldville, in this work. I do not, of course, rate this beyond what it represents, but it is a friendly response. It is not by any means a rebuff. It is a friendly response to try to get going what we all want to get going, which is, as we all believe, a cease-fire and some negotiation between these two leading people. If that is done, there is hope. I believe that it is at any rate an advance which would make us pause before we took some extreme measure. We should see what happens to this before we take any other extreme measure.

Mr. H. Wilson

Is not the Prime Minister aware that the statement of principles that he has just read out is in no way changed from that which has been stated by the United Nations throughout? With regard to the proposed mission, is he not aware that two or three days ago, certainly before the Government asked for a cease-fire, it was stated that Mr. Gardiner was going on this mission? The only change, which we of course welcome, is that Dr. Bunche is also going.

The Prime Minister

I quite agree about the difficult interpretation of these particular phrases which are supposed to govern us, and they have been repeated, but my point is that the spirit in which it is expressed is friendly. The return to us is friendly, and I think we must do our best to make available our help to bring this meeting about. If we cannot, it will be a tragic situation. The first thing we must try to do is to get a cease-fire and the meeting. If we fail in this, we shall have to try other means, but I am encouraged. I know that such a gesture of reasonable and fair response is that of the Secretary-General himself, but it also represents what he believes to be the views of the leading members of the Security Council on the Western side.

Mr. P. Williams

Can the Prime Minister clear up one simple point? Is the fighting to continue?

The Prime Minister

Of course, it will continue until there is a cease-fire. If there is a formal cease-fire it will stop. [Interruption.] On the other hand, I think that the United Nations command will keep a much closer control on some of these widespread attacks and relate it much more to the tactical needs, and I have every reason to hope that that will be done.

Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 320, Noes 226.

Division No. 36.] AYES [9.58 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian Balniel, Lord
Aitken, W. T. Arbuthnot, John Barber, Anthony
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Ashton, Sir Hubert Barlow, Sir John
Allason, James Atkins, Humphrey Barter, John
Batsford, Brian Gardner, Edward MacArthur, Ian
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) George, J. C. (Pollok) McLaren, Martin
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Gibson-Watt, David McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia
Bell, Ronald Gilmour, Sir John Maclay, Rt. Hon. John
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm) Glover, Sir Douglas Maclean, Sir Fitzroy(Bute & N. Ayrs.)
Berkeley, Humphry Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)
Bidgood, John C. Goodhart, Philip McMaster, Stanley R.
Biffen, John Goodhew. Victor Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)
Bingham, R. M. Gough, Frederick Macpherson, Nlal (Dumfries)
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Gower, Raymond Maddan, Martin
Bishop, F. P. Grant, Rt. Hon. William Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.
Black, Sir Cyril Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R. Markham, Major Sir Frank
Bossom, Clive Green, Alan Marlowe, Anthony
Bourne-Arton, A. Gresham Cooke, R. Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest
Box, Donald Grosvenor, Lt. Col. R. G. Marshall, Douglas
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. Gurden, Harold Marten, Neil
Boyle, Sir Edward Halt, John (Wycombe) Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)
Braine, Bernard Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald
Brewis, John Hare, Rt. Hon. John Mawby, Ray
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.- Col. Sir Walter Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Harris, Reader (Heston) Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.
Brooman-White, R. Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Mills, Stratton
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Montgomery, Fergus
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Harvey, Sir Arthur vere (Macclesf'd) Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr)
Bryan, Paul Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) More, Jasper (Ludlow)
Buck, Antony Harvie Anderson, Miss Morgan, William
Bullard, Denys Hastings, Stephen Morrison, John
Bullus, wing Commander Eric Hay, John Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles
Burden, F. A. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Nabarro, Gerald
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nalrn) Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward Neave, Airey
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Hendry, Forbes Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Hicks Beach, Maj. W. Nicholson. Sir Godfrey
Cary, Sir Robert Hiley, Joseph Noble, Michael
Channon, H. P. G. Hill. Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Nugent, Sir Richard
Chataway, Christopher Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Oakshott, Sir Hendrie
Churchill, Rt. Hon. sir Winston Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Hirst, Geoffrey Orr-Ewing, C. Ian
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Hobson, John Osborn, John (Haliam)
Cleaver, Leonard Hocking, Philip N. Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)
Cole, Norman Holland, Philip Page, Graham (Crosby)
Cooke, Robert Hollingworth, John Page, John (Harrow, West)
Cooper, A. E. Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Hopkins, Alan Partridge, E.
Cordle, John Hornby, R. P. Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)
Corfield, F. V. Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P. Percival, Ian
Costain, A. P. Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Peyton, John
Coulson, J. M. Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth
Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Pike, Miss Mervyn
Craddock, Sir Beresford Hughes-Young, Michael Pilkington, Sir Richard
Critchley, Julian Hulbert, Sir Norman Pitman, Sir James
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver Hurd, Sir Anthony Pitt, Miss Edith
Crowder, F. P. Hutchison, Michael Clark Pott, Percivall
Cunningham, Knox Iremonger, T. L. Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch
Curran, Charles Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Price, David (Eastleigh)
Currie, G. B. H. James, David Price, H. A. (Lewisham, w.)
Dalkeith, Earl of Jennings, J. C. Prior, J. M. L.
Dance, James Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Profumo, Rt. Hon. John
d' Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Proudfoot, Wilfred
Deedes, w. F. Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Pym, Francis
de Ferranti, Basil Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green) Quennell, Miss J. M.
Digby, Simon Wingfield Joseph, Sir Keith Ramsden, James
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M, Kaberry, Sir Donald Rawlinson, Peter
Doughty, Charles Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Redmayne, Rt- Hon. Martin
Drayson, G. B. Kerr, Sir Hamilton Rees, Hugh
du Cann, Edward Kimball, Marcus Rees-Davies, W. R.
Duncan, Sir James Kitson, Timothy Renton, David
Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Lagden, Godfrey Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Lancaster, Col. C. G. Ridsdale, Julian
Elliott, R.W.(Nwcstle-upon-Tyne, N.) Langford Holt, J. Rippon, Geoffrey
Emery, Peter Leather, E. H. C. Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Leburn, Gilmour Robson Brown, Sir William
Errington, Sir Eric Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Erroll, Dt. Hon. F. J. Lilley, F. J. P. Roots, William
Farey-Jones, F. W. Lindsay, Martin Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Farr, John Linstead, Sir Hugh Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
Finlay, Graeme Litchfield, Capt John Russell, Ronald
Fisher, Nigel Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey(Sut'nC'dfield) St. Clair, M.
Fietcher-Cooke, Charles Lloyd Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan
Foster, John Longbottom, Charles Scott-Hopkins, James
Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone) Longden, Gilbert Seymour, Leslie
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Loveys, Walter H. Sharples, Richard
Freeth, Denzil Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby Shaw, M.
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Lucas, Sir Jocelyn Shepherd, William
Gammans, Lady Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir Jocelyn
Skeet, T. H. H. Taylor, w. J. (Bradford, N.) Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. sir Derek
Smith, Dudey (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick) Teeling, William Ward, Dame Irene
Smithers, Peter Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret Webster, David
Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood) Thomas, Peter (Convay) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher Thompson, Kenneth (Walton) Whitelaw, William
Spearman, Sir Alexander Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.) Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Speir, Rupert Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Stanley, Hon. Richard Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Stevens, Geoffrey Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.) Wise, A. R.
Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.) Turner, Colin Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Stodart, J. A. Tweedsmuir, Lady Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm van Straubenzee, W. R. Woodhouse, C. M.
Storey, Sir Samuel Vane, W. M. F. Woodnutt, Mark
Studholme, Sir Henry Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John Woollam, John
Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury) Vickers, Miss Joan Worsley, Marcus
Talbot, John E. Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Tapsell, Peter Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Walder, David Mr. E. Wakefield and
Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side) Walker, Peter Mr. Chichester-Clark.
Abse, Leo Greenwood, Anthony Mayhew, Christopher
Ainsley, William Grey, Charles Mellish, R. J.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mendelson, J. J.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Milne, Edward J.
Awbery, Stan Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Mitchison, G. R.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Grimond, Rt. Hon. J. Monslow, Walter
Bence, Cyril Gunter, Ray Moody, A. S.
Bennett, J (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Morris, John
Benson, Sir George Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Mort, D. L.
Blackburn, F. Hamilton, William (west Fife) Moyle, Arthur
Blyton, William Hannan, William Mulley, Frederick
Boardman, H. Hart, Mrs. Judith Neal, Harold
Bowden, Herbert w. (Leics, S.W.) Hayman, F. H. Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Healey, Denis Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip(Derby, S.)
Bowles, Frank Herbison, Miss Margaret Oliver, G. H.
Boyden, James Hill, J. (Midlothian) Oram, A. E.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Hilton, A. V. Oswald, Thomas
Brockway, A. Fenner Holman, Percy Owen, Will
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Holt, Arthur Padley, W. E.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Houghton, Douglas Paget, R. T.
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Callaghan, James Hoy, James H. Pargiter, G. A.
Chapman, Donald Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Parker, John
Cliffe, Michael Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Paton, John
Collick, Percy Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Pavitt, Laurence
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Hunter, A. E. Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Hynd, H. (Accrington) Peart, Frederick
Cronin, John Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Pentland, Norman
Crosland, Anthony Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Plummer, Sir Leslie
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Janner, Sir Barnett Popplewell, Ernest
Darling, George Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Prentice, R. E.
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Jeger, George Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Probert, Arthur
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Pursey, Cmdr. Harry
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Randall, Harry
Deer, George Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Rankin, John
Delargy, Hugh Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Redhead, E. C.
Dempsey, James Kelley, Richard Reid, William
Diamond, John Kenyon, Clifford Rhodes, H.
Dodds, Norman Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Donnelly, Desmond Lawson, George Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Driberg, Tom Ledger, Ron Robertson, John (Paisley)
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Ross, William
Edelman, Maurice Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Short, Edward
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Lipton, Marcus Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Logan, David Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Evans, Albert Loughlin, Charles Skeffington, Arthur
Fernyhough, E. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Finch, Harold MacColl, James Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Fitch, Alan McInnes, James Small, William
Fletcher, Eric McKay, John (Wallsend) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) Mackie, John (Enfield, East) Snow, Julian
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) McLeavy, Frank Sorensen, R. W.
Forman, J. C. MacMillan, Malcolm (western Isles) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh MacPherson, Malcolm (Sterling) Spriggs, Leslie
Galpern, Sir Myer Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Steele, Thomas
George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn) Manuel, A. C. Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Ginsburg, David Mapp, Charles Stonehouse, John
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. p. C. Marsh, Richard Stones, William
Gourlay, Harry Mason, Roy Strachey, Rt. Hon. John
Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall) Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Stross, Dr. Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent, C.) Wade, Donald Williams, w. T. (Warrington)
Swain, Thomas Wainwright, Edwin Wills, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Swingler, Stephen Warbey, William Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Symonds, J. B. Watkins, Tudor Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Weitzman, David Woof, Robert
Taylor, John (West Lothian) Wells, Percy (Faversham) Wyatt, Woodrow
Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.) Wells, William (Walsall, N.) Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.) White, Mrs. Eirene Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline) wigg, George Zilliacus, K.
Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.) Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Thornton, Ernest Wilkins, w. A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Thorpe, Jeremy Willey, Frederick Mr. Charles A. Howell and
Timmons, John Williams, D. J. (Neath) Mr. McCann.
Tomney, Frank Williams, LI. (Abertillery)

Main Question put and agreed to.

Resolved, That this House supports the action of Her Majesty's Government in making a formal request to the Secretary-General of the United Nations to secure an immediate cease-fire in Katanga in order to bring to an end the destruction of life and property resulting from the present fighting and thus create conditions in which, in a united Congo, a peaceful and just basis for co-operation may be negotiated.