HC Deb 25 July 1973 vol 860 cc1608-9
41. Mr. Hugh Jenkins

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the total amount of aid given by the United Kingdom to the Indonesian Government during the year 1972.

Mr. Anthony Royle

During 1972 we supplied about £6.8 million in development aid.

Mr. Jenkins

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Indonesian regime is extremely repressive and barbarous and that 50,000 political prisoners are detained there without trial? What action are the Government taking to ensure that aid is not used to uphold the regime and enable it to pursue its repressive policies even more efficiently?

Mr. Boyle

The hon. Member may not be aware that the Indonesian authorities have recently confirmed that there are 18,000 detainees. The total is very much lower than the 50,000 he mentioned. We do not think we are justified in any way in raising with the Indonesian Government the question of political detainees. It is a matter relating to the internal affairs of Indonesia. We should not wish in any way to link the giving of aid to that country with the question of its internal arrangements.

Mr. Edward Taylor

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is many years since the previous Indonesian Government seized British assets in Indonesia? Will he give the House a report on the discussions that have taken place about compensation, and does he agree that future aid policy should depend a great deal on our success in these matters?

Mr. Royle

I know of my hon. Friend's great interest in this subject. In March of this year the Indonesians put forward proposals for the settlement of claims to most of the British companies whose claims they considered eligible under the present compensation scheme. Some of the claimants are still considering the proposals. We have reminded the Indonesians that a number of claimants have had no response to their claims.