HC Deb 04 February 1965 vol 705 cc1278-80
Q7. Sir J. Langford-Holt

asked the Prime Minister whether he will publish a White Paper listing the resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly by which Her Majesty's Government regard the United Kingdom as being legally bound, and the action which has been taken on them.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. As I informed the hon. Member on 26th November, it would not be practicable, in view of the large number of resolutions adopted by the Security Council and the General Assembly, to list those which are and those which are not legally binding. However, copies of all resolutions are available in the House of Commons Library, and if any hon. Member wishes to seek information about the nature of a particular resolution, he is, of course, at liberty to put down a Question.

Sir J. Langford-Holt

Is not the Prime Minister aware that it is an extremely arduous task even for a hon. Member of this House to find exactly what these resolutions are and to what extent they are binding? Will not the right hon. Gentleman consider whether some simplification could not be arrived at?

The Prime Minister

Since there have been 200 Security Council formal resolutions and 1,993 resolutions of the General Assembly, to assemble them all and publish them would be quite an arduous undertaking. That is why I think it better to identify particular areas in which the hon. Member or any other hon. Member is interested.

Mr. Peter Thomas

Does not the Prime Minister agree that when voting for a United Nations resolution either in the Security Council or otherwise it is important to have regard to the spirit of the resolution and to vote for the spirit and not to vote for every word in all the terms of the resolution? Does he agree that if that is done, and if there is an explanation of vote, that is the proper way in which one should vote for a United Nations resolution?

The Prime Minister

I think that every resolution has to be looked at on its merits, but I understand that the right hon. Gentleman still has a guilt-complex about the South African arms embargo

Mr. Thomas

Does not the Prime Minister agree with the explanation of vote which was given by the United Kingdom representative on the three resolutions to which he is referring, namely, those on 7th August, 1963, 4th December, 1963, and 18th June, 1964?

The Prime Minister

Frankly, I do not disagree at all. Our representative there, on instructions from the Government, was crystal-clear about the attitude of the Government on all these points. What we disagree about is the instruction given to him.

Mr. A. Henderson

In view of the last two supplementary questions, will the Prime Minister make it clear that, under Article 25, every member State is bound to accept and carry out every resolution passed by the Security Council in accordance with the Charter, and that nothing is said in the Charter about clarifying it according to what is described as the spirit of the resolution?

The Prime Minister

I am sure that my right hon. and learned Friend has correctly interpreted Article 25. I only wish that there was equal unanimity on the interpretation of Article 19.