HC Deb 02 February 1961 vol 633 cc1188-9
48. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Prime Minister, in view of the withdrawal of national contingents supporting the operation of the United Nations in the ex-Belgian Congo, if he will personally make representations to the heads of governments whose countries are member-states of the United Nations, to agree to the continuation of their contingents and to give renewed support to efforts aimed at preventing civil war and economic chaos in that area.

The Prime Minister

I understand that the Secretary-General of the United Nations has already addressed appeals in the sense of the hon. Member's Question to those Governments who are withdrawing their national contingents from the Congo force. I do not think it would be right for me to address separate appeals to these Governments, but Her Majesty's Government entirely endorse Mr. Hammarskjoeld's efforts in this direction, and our views about this are known.

Mr. Sorensen

In view of the tragedy that would attend the withdrawal of contingents from this part of Africa, does not the right hon. Gentleman think that a personal appeal on his part might strengthen the effort of the Secretary-General?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I sympathise entirely with the purpose the hon. Member has in mind, but Mr. Hammarskjoeld is charged by the United Nations with this task. I think we have to be careful to give him support in the constitutional manner.

Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

Does not the Prime Minister think that the experience of the United Nations in the Congo shows that there should be a permanent force specially recruited by the United Nations which would not be subject to the whims of dictators out for their own ends?

The Prime Minister

That, of course, is a very important consideration, but the hon. and learned Member will not have forgotten that a suggestion of this kind was included by Her Majesty's Government in their disarmament proposals.

Mrs. Castle

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that one of the increasing dangers in the present situation arises from the intervention of foreign forces and Governments with the help of arms and men put into the Congo not under the control of the United Nations? Could he say what steps the United Kingdom delegate at the United Nations is taking to get this stopped?

The Prime Minister

The United Nations resolution to which we gave our support is quite clear on this matter.