HC Deb 22 January 1968 vol 757 c11
12. Mr. Coe

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what proposals he has made for changes in the rôle of the South East Asia Treaty Organisation.

Mr. George Brown

We shall be amending our force declarations to the South East Asia Treaty Organisation as our forces in the area are run down. But no proposals for changes in the rôle of the Organisation have been put forward by any of our partners in the South East Asia Treaty Organisation, and we see no reason to seek them ourselves.

Mr. Coe

Will my right hon. Friend agree that, as we run down our forces, our rôle should be more towards helping nations to stand on their own feet economically than from a security point of view?

Mr. Brown

As I said the other night when winding up the debate, I believe that to be profoundly true, and we will do that. But it does not mean that we need at the same time to seek any change in the rôle of the South-East Asia Treaty Organisation.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

is the Foreign Secretary going to negotiate these reductions or give our allies a flat statement?

Mr. Brown

I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman has got the whole thing wrong. The situation in S.E.A.T.O. is that forces are declared, but, unlike N.A.T.O., forces are not necessarily committed.

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