HC Deb 03 February 1964 vol 688 cc814-5
25. Mr. Fell

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what action he has initiated at the United Nations to ascertain the steps being taken to stop the Congo massacres; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. P. Thomas

The security situation in Kwilu Province has deteriorated considerably in recent weeks owing to the activities of terrorist bands. A number of people, including missionaries, are reported to have been killed. The United Nations are reported to have carried out the evacuation of foreign missionaries. The Central Government, which is primarily responsible for the maintenance of law and order in the Congo, has declared a state of emergency in the province but has made no request for United Nations military intervention.

Mr. Fell

Whilst one is pleased to hear that some of them have been evacuated, what will be the future position in the Congo of the United Nations Security Force? Will it now taper off? If so, what will happen to the white people who are left?

Mr. Thomas

The United Nations Force, although greatly reduced, still remains in the Congo. But the United Nations Force could not intervene in a case like this without being invited to do so by the Central Government.

Mr. Fell

Is it not a fact that on other occasions the United Nations forces have intervened in the Congo in places where they were not wanted or needed? In a case like this, surely they should intervene. That is what they are there for.

Mr. Thomas

That was in different circumstances.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Is it not a fact that the United Nations Force has been run down from nearly 18,000 men to fewer than 4,000 to deal with a territory which is much larger than France? Will the Government try to secure further reinforcements for this force?

Mr. Thomas

I do not know that the question of reinforcements of the United Nations Force arises at the moment. As far as this Question is concerned, the United Nations Force in the Congo has been carrying out rescue operations, and has been doing so very effectively, at the invitation of the Congolese Government.

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