HC Deb 02 August 1965 vol 717 cc1029-30
1. Mr. G. Campbell

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the latest position reached in the international discussions on United Nations peace-keeping operations and the procedure for paying for them.

21. Mr. S. C. Silkin

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards the current problems and the future of the United Nations.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. George Thomson)

I have nothing to add to the account of the Government's policy towards the current problems and future of the United Nations which my right hon. Friend gave during the foreign affairs debate on 20th July.

Mr. Campbell

I recognise that this question is now the subject of confidential negotiations, but can the Minister assure the House that, during the next few weeks, it will be treated as a matter of urgency in view of its effect upon the proper functioning of the 20th Session of the General Assembly due to start in September?

Mr. Thomson

Yes, Sir; we attach the highest importance to these questions.

Lady Tweedsmuir

Will the Minister of State say whether there is any truth in the report that Her Majesty's Government have suggested that full voting procedures shall be entered into at the United Nations—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The noble Lady will have to explain whether the report was one for which the Minister is responsible in some way; otherwise, it is out of order.

Lady Tweedsmuir

Have Her Majesty's Government proposed to the Peace-Keeping Committee that full voting procedures shall be entered into at the next meeting of the General Assembly, thus circumventing Article 19? If this is so, does not he agree that, although one recognises the great political problems involved, the future of the United Nations would, perhaps, be worst served by circumventing a major article of its constitution?

Mr. Thomson

The Peace-Keeping Committee does not meet again until the middle of this month, and we are at the moment in discussion with our friends and allies about the sort of position we should take up on this matter at that time. I think that the criterion which the House would accept is what is best for the United Nations to enable it to play its rôle in world affairs.

Mr. Zilliacus

I thank my hon. Friend for the initiative which the Government have already taken in this matter and for what he has just said, but will he look at the debate in the United States Senate on 25th March in which Senator Aiken, the dean of the Republican Senators, made proposals, endorsed by the majority Democratic leader Senator Mansfield and other Senators, saying in effect that Article 19 should be suspended in the case of peace-keeping recommendations by the Assembly and pointing out that the United States would never accept this as applied to itself—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The Minister can answer as far as we have gone.

Mr. Thomson

I do not have the reading capacity of my hon. Friend, but, with the forthcoming Recess to help me, I shall attempt to study the speech to which he refers.