HC Deb 13 April 1964 vol 693 cc20-1
17. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a further statement on the situation on the borders of Indonesia and Malaysia.

Mr. P. Thomas

Indonesian guerrillas continue to operate in Eastern Malaysia. By 6th April there had been no less than 55 violations of the cease-fire of 24th January. There is ample evidence that the period of cease-fire has been used by the Indonesians to increase their guerrilla strength.

Mr. Henderson

Is it not evident that President Soekarno's policy of confrontation has created a very dangerous situation which might erupt into full-scale war any time? Is it not time that the matter was referred to the United Nations for them to act under Article 35 to investigate the situation? Surely the time has come for some action to be taken by Her Majesty's Government in conjunction with the Government of Malaysia.

Mr. Thomas

I am very glad that the right hon. and learned Member mentioned those last few words, because whether the matter is referred to the United Nations must surely be a matter for the Government of Malaysia to decide. I understand that they have recently sent a letter to the Secretary-General surveying the history of the dispute.

As to the first part of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's supplementary question, I quite agree with him that the policy of confrontation which is pursued by Indonesia is a dangerous one, and I hope that it will stop.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Since we have British troops in Malaysia, is it not open to us to urge on the Government of Malaysia that they should ask for United Nations observers to come to control the frontier and to report when violations occur?

Mr. Thomas

I think that the right hon. Gentleman knows the difficulty of observers on the frontier of this difficult terrain. The Malaysian Government were anxious that Thai observers should come, but, so far, it is extremely difficult because the Indonesian interpretation of what a cease-fire should be is not very clear at the moment.

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