HC Deb 18 February 1964 vol 689 cc1031-2

Mr. P. Noel-Baker(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he intends to represent Her Majesty's Government in the Security Council during the Council's discussions on Cyprus.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. R. A. Butler)

No, Sir. I have every confidence in the ability of the United Kingdom Permanent Representative at the United Nations.

Mr. Noel-Baker

We all have confidence in Sir Patrick Dean, especially those who have seen his work at first hand, as I have, but, with all due respect to Sir Patrick, may I ask the Foreign Secretary to consider that the lives of thousands of British soldiers and civilians will be at stake if the situation in Cyprus should develop into serious fighting?

Will the Foreign Secretary also bear in mind that an official, however eminent, who has to telegraph home to the Secretary of State for approval of everything he says, cannot have the authority to negotiate the sending of an international force or the long-term settlement that will be needed? Will the right hon. Gentlemen therefore reconsider the matter and go to New York himself as soon as possible, staying as long as necessary?

Mr. Butler

No, Sir. I adhere to the terms of my original Answer. I went to New York and interviewed not only Sir Patrick Dean, but also U Thant, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, on Wednesday last week. I was per fectly satisfied with the plan which might develop and since then we have received full information of the activities of U Thant and I am in close touch with Sir Patrick.

The meeting of the Security Council takes place later this afternoon and I am quite satisfied that, as Sir Patrick has done all the initial work, it is quite right that he should continue to represent us.

Mr. Noel-Baker

This is a very grave crisis. Will the right hon. Gentleman consider that the nation will judge, the Government's many protestations of loyalty to the United Nations by the part which they play, and which he, as Foreign Secretary, plays, in the discussion of what is a grave crisis for Cyprus and for the Commonwealth and a very serious test for the United Nations?

Mr. Butler

We are determined to see that the United Nations machinery has the utmost chance of making a success of this challenge. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that this is a very serious situation, but I am perfectly satisfied that the arrangements we have made are the right ones for the purpose.