§ 2. Mr. St. John-Stevas
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will take a further initiative to bring an end to the war in Vietnam.
§ 60. Mr. Dickens
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will now take a further initiative to end the war in Vietnam.
§ Mr. George Brown
I have nothing to add to what my right hon. Friend the 58 Prime Minister told the House on 23rd March.
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
It is not my day, Mr. Speaker. Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether he agrees with the suggestion made by Mr. Kosygin that the Geneva Conference is, perhaps, too unwieldy a body to negotiate a separate peace and that it would be better to set up an ad hoc body of smaller character, including France and China?
§ Mr. Brown
There are a variety of ways, as I have said to the House quite a number of times before, in which we might get the exercise to end this war started, and the number of ways in which we might reach a conference table and final solution of the problems at the Geneva Conference could easily at some stage form part of the machinery, but at what stage is a different question.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman
Is my right hon. Friend yet ready to accept the view that there is no hope whatever of bringing North Vietnam, or any other country, into a conference discussion while it is being bombed?
§ 32. Mr. Judd
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs under what conditions the British Government will now support the cessation of bombing by the United States of North Vietnam as one of the three points of the peace initiative for Vietnam proposed by U Thant, Secretary-General of the United Nations.
§ 62. Mr. Barnes
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has made any further representations to the United States Government regarding the bombing of North Vietnam, in view of the latest peace initiatives being undertaken by U Thant, Secretary-General of the United Nations.
§ Mr. George Brown
As the House knows, we, warmly welcomed U Thant's proposals made on 14th March, which included a total military standstill. This would, of course, have applied to United States bombing. Since the proposals were also promptly accepted by the American Government, the need for representations to them did not arise.
§ Mr. Judd
While I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply, and want at all 59 costs to avoid over-simplified condemnation of the United States because of the complexities of the situation, would not my right hon. Friend agree that U Thant's initiative, particularly on the question of degree and difference between support for either side within South Vietnam and expansion of the conflict beyond the frontiers of South Vietnam, gives an oportunity for stressing positive policies and thereby encouraging liberal forces within the United States?
§ Mr. Eldon Griffiths
Will the right hon. Gentleman be very careful about encouraging liberal forces in the United States and confine his dealings to the President and the Secretary of State?
§ Mr. Barnes
Would my right hon. Friend not agree with what U Thant also said, that the cessation of the bombing of North Vietnam is a prerequisite of further peace moves taking place?
§ Mr. Woodburn
Has my right hon. Friend information of any favourable response to U Thant from the North Vietnamese Government?
§ 41. Mr. Hugh Jenkins
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of recent evidence that action by United States forces in Vietnam has killed, wounded or burned many children, he will dissociate Her Majesty's Government from napalm and phosphorus bombing in Vietnam.
§ 71. Mr. Leadbitter
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what recent steps he has taken to dissociate the United Kingdom from the United States of 60 America's official proposal to continue bombing North Vietnam.
§ Mr. George Brown
I have nothing to add to the Answer given by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State to my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) on 16th March. [Vol. 743, c. 143.]
§ Mr. Jenkins
But is not my right hon. Friend aware that the weight of the weaponry deployed by the United States in Vietnam is now so great as to make the genocide of the civilian population almost an accepted and inevitable part of their activity? Is he not condoning policies which result in the killing and burning of women and children, and is he not himself in danger of becoming an accessory to the crime if he continues to condone it?
§ Mr. Brown
I would not even bother to reply to the accusation at the end of that supplementary question. On the first part of it, I repeat what I have said to my hon. Friend and others many times. All of us deplore all the murder and suffering which is going on in Vietnam today, and should be doing, as I trust I am doing, what we can to bring it all to a halt.
§ Mr. Lubbock
Is the Foreign Secretary aware that over the weekend there was yet another incident in which innocent civilians were killed by the actions of the United States in bombing their village? Is not this repugnant to the whole of the civilised world? Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to represent to the United States Government the disgust of the British people at action taken against civilians in South Vietnam?
§ Mr. Leadbitter
Would my right hon. Friend understand that there is a great deal of anxiety in this country and throughout the world about the kind of war which is going on in Vietnam? Whereas both sides of the House understand the complexities, it is important 61 that the opinion of Her Majesty's Government should be impressed on Mr. Johnson, the President of the United States, that there is a point beyond which there can be no return. We must impress on him that the suffering and loss of life must be controlled.
§ Mr. Mayhew
Is my right hon. Friend aware that, whatever may be felt about the actions of the United States leading to the present tragedy in Vietnam, the recent publication of correspondence between President Johnson and Ho Chi Minh goes a good way to vindicating the attitude of Her Majesty's Government to American bombing?