HC Deb 03 August 1966 vol 733 cc456-7
27. Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether any units of the Army, Royal Navy or Royal Air Force are receiving special training for service, if required, as part of an international United Nations Force.

Mr. Healey

No, Sir. Normal training ensures that British units are well able to play their part in peace-keeping operations of the type in which a United Nations force is most likely to become involved.

Mr. Hooley

Would my right hon. Friend agree that peace-keeping operations by the United Nations are infinitely preferable to national military operations and that there is a case for some kind of special training for our forces to enable them to play their part?

Mr. Healey

I certainly agree with my hon. Friend on the first part of his supplementary question. One of Her Majesty's Government's most urgent preoccupations is to strengthen the peacekeeping powers of the United Nations. On the second part of his supplementary question, I think that if he saw what the British troops did in the United Nations operations in Cyprus and elsewhere he would agree that they were admirably trained for this type of responsibility.

Mr. Blaker

Since the Government are planning to leave South Arabia without any other help for its defence, is it their intention that it should rely on the help of the United Nations If so, how does the right hon. Gentleman reconcile that with what he said recently, that the United Nations is not at present capable of taking over the peace-keeping operations in Asia which we have been performing ourselves?

Mr. Healey

There are so many hypothetical questions involved in that supplementary question that I am afraid I do not know how to answer it.