HC Deb 26 February 1968 vol 759 cc919-21
4. Mr. James Davidson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs as co-Chairman of the Geneva Agreement, whether he will seek to have observers placed on the Vietnam-Cambodia frontier to ensure that the neutrality of Cambodia may be observed during current military operations in Vietnam.

Mr. George Brown

I regard the preservation of Cambodia's neutrality as vitally important. So far as Cambodia's frontier with Vietnam is concerned, we have long held that the best way to ensure this neutrality would be by expanding the activities of the International Control Commission as the Cambodian Government have requested. The Commission is seized of this matter and consideration lies there at the moment.

Mr. Davidson

What practical steps have Her Majesty's Government taken as co-Chairman to try to safeguard Cambodian neutarilty, other than giving lip service to the request of the Cambodian Government?

Mr. Brown

It is not a question of giving lip-service; we have made it clear by our declaration what our views are. So far our other co-Chairman has been unwilling to join with us in a proposal to extend the work of the International Control Commission. Nevertheless, the Commission itself is competent to do this. We have drawn its attention to it and various efforts to help have been made, and we hope that it will take action.

Mr. R. C. Mitchell

Is my right hon. Friend aware that large numbers of North Vietnamese regular troops are stationed in Cambodia? In fact, North Vietnam is using Cambodia as a base for its aggression against South Vietnam.

Mr. Brown

I think it would be better if I kept out of that. I take note of what my hon. Friend says.

Mr. Dalyell

Has there been any direct approach from the Cambodian Government to Her Majesty's Government on the question of the Commission?

Mr. Brown

The Cambodian Government would like to see the activities of the Commission extended. Cambodia has a very long and mountainous frontier—as my hon. Friend knows more personally than I do—and the ways by which it could be supervised would require mobile forces. These are available, and we should like to see them used.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Is it true that the Russian and Polish members of the Commission are refusing to allow the arrival of better equipment to make these forces available?

Mr. Brown

It is better if I simply say that the matter rests at the moment with the Commission, which is empowered to take action, if it will.

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