HC Deb 23 January 1962 vol 652 cc47-8
Mr. G. M. Thomson (by Private Notice)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the armed invasion of British Honduras territory by Guatemala.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Hugh Fraser)

On the 21st January, about 30 armed Guatemalan civilians entered the Toledo district of British Honduras. In the village of Pueblo Viejo they are reported to have burnt the Union Jack and hoisted the Guatemalan flag. Some of them went on to the village of San Antonio and beyond.

Troops of the Royal Hampshire Regiment arrived in Punta Gorda yesterday morning and went inland to deal with the situation. This morning it is reported that the band has broken up and for the most part is returning or has returned to Guatemala. The search for any of the persons remaining continues.

Her Majesty's Minister in Guatemala City has been instructed to make representations immediately, and to ask for an assurance that there will be no repetition of such an incident.

Mr. Thomson

While thanking the hon. Gentleman for that reply, may I ask whether he will bear in mind that his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies is at present in the Caribbean? Will he consider recommending him to pay a visit to British Honduras to investigate this matter on the spot and to reassure the people of Honduras that we are concerned to preserve their right to self-determination and to seek a peaceful solution to this very old problem?

Mr. Fraser

I hope that what I have said will give the people of British Honduras this assurance. Meanwhile, it is a matter for the Foreign Office to make proper approaches to the Government of Guatemala to ensure that there is no repetition of such incursions or incidents on our frontier.