HC Deb 03 February 1964 vol 688 cc810-2
21. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement on the ceasefire on the Malaysian-Indonesian border following the talks between President Sukarno and Mr. Robert Kennedy, President Johnson's official representative, in view of British commitments under the South-East Asia Treaty Organisation.

Mr. R. A. Butler

There is no written Agreement arranged by Mr. Kennedy. The essential point at issue is whether Indonesian guerillas already in Malaysia are (as the Indonesians claim) allowed to remain in Malaysian territory provided they stop shooting or whether (as the Malaysian Government quite justifiably contend) these guerillas must withdraw to Indonesia or surrender to the security forces if they wish to avoid being rounded up. Our position was explained by my right hon. Friend the Commonwealth Secretary on 23rd January when he confirmed the interpretation of the Leader of the Opposition that this is a cease-fire by Indonesia and that Malaysia, whose territory was attacked, is not being asked to agree to a cease-fire, and should not be put in the position of saying so.

Mr. Henderson

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the representatives of the Government of Thailand are actually engaged in supervising the ceasefire on the Indonesian side of the border? Secondly, is there any evidence that the Indonesian guerrilla forces have withdrawn across their border? If not, is it within the terms of the cease-fire to round them up when they are found?

Mr. Butler

In reply to the last point, I have no final opinion because of the confused, nature of the terrain and the difficulty of establishing the exact whereabouts of every person. Thailand has offered its mediation. I would not say that it is actually supervising the ceasefire, because that would be a more technical description, but it is at present engaged in offering its mediation in the dispute.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Will my right hon. Friend assure the House that the British forces which are giving assistance will remain on the border until real agreement and stability have been brought into that area?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. As my right hon. Friend made clear, there is no question of withdrawing the British forces from where they are.