HC Deb 02 May 1967 vol 746 cc305-6
Q5. Mr. Marten

asked the Prime Minister if he will now propose the formation of a Commonwealth Peace Mission to help to resolve the Aden situation.

The Prime Minister

No, sir. I believe that an international contribution to the solution of this problem can best be sought in the United Nadons.

Mr. Marten

How much longer is the Prime Minister going to allow the Aden situation to deteriorate into chaos? Has the Prime Minister not got a clear duty to humanity to restore order, and to restore order now?

The Prime Minister

I have nothing to add to what was said in the recent debate initiated by right hon. Members opposite. As the hon. Member will know, Lord Shackleton is at present in this country reporting to my right hon. Friend. When there is anything further to say to the House, of course, it will be said.

Lord Balniel

In the light of a deteriorating situation in Aden and the widespread reports that Lord Shackleton is returning with new proposals for Aden, can we have an assurance that the Government will make a statement on Aden before we rise for the Recess?

The Prime Minister

I said that as soon as anything can be said to the House it will be. I should not like to put a date on it. The whole House is deeply concerned about the Aden situation, although two views have been expressed in debate about where the original responsibility lay. What now matters is the present and the future.

Mr. Francis Noel-Baker

Arising out of his reply, can my right hon. Friend say what continuing role he envisages for the United Nations special mission on Aden?

The Prime Minister

A very important one. We have made clear that despite the difficulties which arose we believe the United Nations has a role of central importance in this matter.

Mr. David Griffiths

Is my right hon. Friend aware that some ex-Servicemen who have only recently come back from Aden state quite emphatically that the situation is not half as acute as hon. Members opposite are attempting to allege?

The Prime Minister

I am aware, of course, of a number of statements which have been made, not least in this House, about where responsibility lies.

Mr. Lubbock

Is the Prime Minister quite satisfied that no danger exists to the wives and children of personnel serving in Aden and that it is adequate to ensure that they are all brought home by July, or should they not be brought home sooner than that?

The Prime Minister

Everything possible is being done in these difficult circumstances to guarantee their safety. There is no change in the plans which have been announced for bringing them home.

Mr. Sandys

While the Prime Minister may argue about where the responsibility for the past lies, is he quite clear that responsibility for settling this matter now rests with him?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. I have made clear that the responsibility now lies with us. It is a pity that in this, as in a few other matters, it did not lie with us earlier. Then it would not have been quite—[Interruption.]