HC Deb 15 April 1965 vol 710 cc1663-4
Q6. Mr. Jackson

asked the Prime Minister to what extent, in his initiative to find a peaceful settlement of the situation in Vietnam, he has consulted the members of the Commonwealth.

Mr. Bowden

We have had full and regular consultations with those Commonwealth Governments most concerned. These consultations are of a confidential nature and are still going on.

Mr. Jackson

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply, but will he bear in mind that Mr. Shastri, President Ayub Khan and Mr. Lester Pearson have all made most valuable comments on the Vietnam crisis, and will he agree that the closest possible co-operation between these three Commonwealth countries and ourselves could help towards a settlement of the Vietnam crisis?

Mr. Bowden

We have been in communication with India and Canada, which, as my hon. Friend knows, are members of the International Control Commission. We have also discussed the problem with Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand, all of which are closely associated with the problem in South-East Asia. But I doubt the question of a solution is specifically one for the Commonwealth countries.

Mr. A. Royle

What success is the right hon. Gentleman hoping for from Mr. Patrick Gordon Walker's visit? All of us on this side of the House wish Mr. Gordon Walker well on his tour of the Far East, but the right hon. Gentleman did not mention him in his reply to his hon. Friend, and many people throughout the country are concerned and puzzled about how he can achieve anything if he is not to be able to visit either Peking or Hanoi.

Mr. Bowden

We still hope that it will be possible for him to visit Peking and Hanoi. He is to visit a number of other countries. As he left this country only yesterday, it is rather soon to form a judgment.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the apparent reaction of the Hanoi Government suggests that they would welcome a visit from both co-chairmen of the Geneva Conference, and could he say whether that matter might be taken into account by Mr. Gordon Walker if, or when, he visits Hanoi?

Mr. Bowden

Yes, Sir; we shall certainly take note of that.