HC Deb 18 July 1966 vol 732 cc23-5
25. Mr. Fisher

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the increase in terrorist outrages in Aden, greater powers over internal security will be given to the Federal Government of South Arabia.

Mr. Padley

I am not persuaded that the Federal Government would be better able to deal with terrorist outrages in Aden than the security forces at present available to the High Commissioner. We are, however, always ready to consider very earnestly any proposals which the Federal Government may make for the improvement of security in Aden provided that they are consistent with Her Majesty's Government's responsibility for law and order in the Colony of Aden.

Mr. Fisher

If we cannot ourselves adequately protect the lives of British Service men, their families and Arab civilians in a British Colony, should not we try handing over the task to the Federal Government which is able and willing to discharge it?

Mr. Padley

The right hon Gentleman who leads for the Opposition on foreign affairs several weeks ago asked my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary for a categorical assurance that Britain would not surrender reponsibility for security so long as British lives were at stake. That remains our policy.

38. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the present position in Aden.

Mr. Padley

There has recently been some increase in the number of terrorist incidents in Aden, but the security forces there will continue to take all possible measures to assure the safety of the law-abiding inhabitants. These outrages will not change our intention of bringing the whole of South Arabia to orderly independence by 1968.

Mr. Wall

In view of Her Majesty's Government proposed abrogation of their treaty obligations in South-East Asia, does not this mean that the political future of Aden is one of complete chaos, and is not this having its effect on security and endangering British lives?

Mr. Padley

I have already answered half a dozen questions about treaty obligations and moral responsibilities. cannot add to those replies. We still hope that the discussions which are to begin, we hope, on 1st August will bring about political agreement for stability in this area.

48. Mr. Archer

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on what grounds he informed Amnesty International that he did not think it appropriate for them to send an observer to Aden; whether he will reconsider this and provide every facility for the Swedish observer who is going; and whether he will publish the recent International Red Cross reports on Aden.

Mr. Padley

The persons in detention in Aden are held because there is evidence of their implication in terrorist activities. None is detained because of his political opinions which is the kind of detention with which Amnesty International is usually concerned. It is therefore our view that no useful purpose would be served by a visit to Aden by a representative of Amnesty International. The reports by the International Red Cross representative on his visits to detention camps in Aden in March and May of this year are confidential and Her Majesty's Government are not at liberty to publish them.

Mr. Archer

If there is nothing to conceal, would not my hon. Friend agree that the sooner the fact is confirmed by an independent observer the better?

Mr. Padley

The practice in these matters is that the International Red Cross is the appropriate body, and the representative of the International Red Cross on his visits to Aden has been given full facilities to visit the camps and interview all the detainees personally so that he might satisfy himself as to their treatment.

Mr. Whitaker

Will my hon. Friend place a copy of the Red Cross report on the Library, as was done in the case of the report on the Hola Camp?

Mr. Padley

So far as my investigations have shown, no report by a Red Cross representative on a visit to a detention camp or similar establishment in a British dependent territory has been published by the British Government. But the House can be assured that the International Red Cross is free to inspect the camps and Her Majesty's Government take most serious notice of any points that are raised.