HC Deb 23 March 1964 vol 692 cc24-5
26. Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what instructions he has given to Her Majesty's Government representatives at the United Nations with a view to the strengthening of the United Nations headquarters staff for dealing with peace-keeping operations.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The United Kingdom representative in New York is in regular contact with the Secretary-General about the progress of plans for United Nations peace-keeping operations, including the strengthening of the staff at headquarters. During my recent visit to New York I was able to discuss these matters personally with the Secretary-General.

Mr. Mallalieu

But has the right hon. Gentleman made any proposition to the United Nations in this regard. If so, what is it? Does not the delay in establishing the force in Cyprus show the necessity of planning in advance of the arrival of a crisis?

Mr. Butler

I do not think that we can go as far as earmarking a force. That would mean that there would always be a certain degree of delay. I think that the positive proposals already put by the United Kingdom and the observations which I made at Geneva on this subject for improving the peace-keeping machinery should be taken into account.

Mr. Mayhew

Why is it supposed that earmarking a force, as a general principle, would cause more delay than what we have seen in Cyprus? Surely ear-marking specially organised and trained troops would enable action to be taken more quickly?

Mr. Butler

I do not deny the question of speed, but there is some difficulty in achieving agreement about this.

Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe

Does my right hon. Friend not agree that without the facilities of the British bases, in respect of both communications and transport, the United Nations force when it arrived would be completely immobile?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. I think that the bases must come into the matter.

Mr. Wade

When did the United Nations Headquarters Staff Committee last meet?

Mr. Butler

I should like notice of that.

Forward to