HC Deb 03 May 1965 vol 711 cc916-8
28. Mr. Hamling

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what approaches he has made to Indonesia for the discussion of outstanding questions of mutual concern; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. George Thomson

Discussion with Indonesia of Indonesia's arbitrary policy of hostility and aggression against Malaysia is primarily a matter for the Governments of Malaysia and Indonesia. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said in the Foreign Affairs debate on 1st April, Her Majesty's Government do not contemplate any British initiative at this stage. We have made it clear that we would welcome, and do our best to promote, any move acceptable to Malaysia as offering a genuine prospect of restoring peace on a basis consistent with her independence and territorial integrity.

Mr. Hamling

While thanking my hon. Friend for his reply, may I ask whether he does not agree that although this may be a matter primarily for Indonesia and Malaysia, nevertheless we are very much concerned? Is he not further aware that our friends in Australia and New Zealand are concerned at any deterioration in the South-East Asia situation?

Mr. Thomson

Yes, Sir. The Government are both concerned and directly involved in this dispute. We have it very much in mind to do anything we can to help at a point at which it would be useful.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Did the Minister see an article by the defence correspondent of The Times in one issue last week in which he said that our forces there had been dropping propaganda leaflets on illiterate tribesmen? Could he tell us how the illiterate tribesmen were likely to read them?

Mr. Thomson

I did not see this report, and I am extremely glad not to have the responsibility for what appears in The Times.

Sir D. Walker-Smith

Has there been arty request from the Malaysian Government, or any other Commonwealth Government in the area affected, for Her Majesty's Government to take any further initiative?

Mr. Thomson

There have been some very interesting and useful proposals from Japan. Mr. Kawashima, a leading Japanese politician, had offered his services to help in mediating, and we had hoped that these proposals might make some progress. Unfortunately, the kind of speech which President Soekarno made on May Day in Djakarta dashed these hopes.

Mr. Philip Noel-Baker

Does the Minister recognise that this continued confrontation in South-East Asia is an element of great and dangerous insta- bility? Is it right that it should go on without any attempt to use the machinery of the United Nations to stop this aggression by Indonesia and to have impartial United Nations observers to report on the aggression?

Mr. Thomson

The Government have given very careful and sympathetic consideration to the kind of proposal which my right hon. Friend put forward. The Malaysian Government, who have the primary responsibility for these initiatives, are keeping the Security Council continually informed of the acts of aggression by the Indonesians. The proposal which my right hon. Friend makes for observers has certain difficulties. The terrain is extremely difficult for placing observers. Apart from that, my right hon. Friend will recall that Indonesia walked out of the United Nations and that these arrangements would be bound to be one-sided.