HC Deb 07 November 1966 vol 735 cc945-7
1. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many Yemenis have been deported from South Arabia, and why.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. George Brown)

Four hundred and sixty-two during 1965 and 330 up to 31st October this year, for various criminal acts and other offences against the law.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Will the Government continue to try to ensure that birds of passage from the Yemen do not disturb the peace of Aden? As the Yemen is the key to the security of Aden, will the Government consider raising in the Security Council as a threat to peace the U.A.R.'s repudiation of its engagement to quit the Yemen?

Mr. Brown

The second suggestion would not be a useful thing to do at the moment. As for the first, there is another Question about what we are doing.

2. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will state the arrangements to be made for the security and territorial integrity of South Arabia after independence.

Mr. George Brown

When South Arabia becomes independent, it will, like every other independent country, be entitled to the protection of the United Nations Charter.

In the meantime, we are giving the Government of the Federation of South Arabia substantial amounts of additional financial aid to strengthen their armed forces in readiness for independence.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Will the Government go further than that and give an undertaking that it is not their policy to see that both ends of the Red Sea are dominated by the U.A.R. backed by the U.S.S.R.? Will the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking to the House that air and other assistance will be given to South Arabia to maintain its independence?

Mr. Brown

No, I do not think so. What we are doing and what we are to do after independence and what should be done is to enable these people to build up their own defence forces.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

Will not the right hon. Gentleman recognise that the key to the security of South Arabia is that it should have an air force which it is capable of operating itself? Is he not aware that it is almost impossible to create that before 1968, which is the date the Government have given for withdrawal? Will he therefore extend the date, at any rate from the point of view of keeping a training mission there?

Mr. Brown

No, Sir. It is quite right—and should be defended—that independence in cases like this should come as quickly as can be properly arranged. We think that 1968 is the right date for independence and that we should not encourage any ideas that it will be changed. In the meantime, it is for us to help all we can so that these people can look after themselves thereafter. The aid which we are giving is very substantial, much more than we have hitherto been giving, to help them to build up their forces, which will include an air component, to be as large as they would be able to sustain.

Mr. Sandys

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that between now and 1968 it is totally impossible for the Federation to build up armed forces which would then be in a position to resist Egyptian attack? Can he tell us whether any foreign Governments have expressed anxiety to Her Majesty's Government about the dangerous consequences of Britain's rapid withdrawal?

Mr. Brown

We get far more pressures to end what is regarded as evidence of our colonialism than we do the other way round. I happen to disagree very strongly with the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) about this. I think that we should encourage people to prepare themselves for independence and not seek to discourage them from it.

10. Mr. Colin Jackson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on his plans for associating the United Nations with South Arabia's progress towards independence in 1968.

59. Mr. Stratton Mills

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress of the constitutional arrangements for the independence of the South Arabian Federation in 1968.

Mr. George Brown

We are trying to reach agreement on the composition of a United Nations mission to South Arabia. We hope that this mission will help us to work out with all concerned constitutional arrangements for bringing South Arabia to independence by 1968.

Mr. Jackson

I thank my right hon. Friend for that Answer and hope that he will pursue this question. Would he not agree that a U.N. presence, perhaps consisting of neutral Arab nations such as the Lebanon and the Sudan, would have a genuine benefit both in spotlighting terrorism in Aden Colony and making this an international question, leading to a peaceful solution in 1968?

Mr. Brown

Without commenting on what the membership might be, I have been discussing it with the U.N. when I was there. I have seen my noble Friend, Lord Caradon, very recently and it has been discussed with member nations of the Committee of 24. Everyone is aware of my anxiety that an acceptable membership should be arrived at as quickly as possible.

Mr. Stratton Mills

While fully recognising the difficulty, may I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman can say with whom the United Nations will negotiate over Aden?

Mr. Brown

For the moment, they are negotiating with us.