HC Deb 14 May 1990 vol 172 cc594-5
56. Mr. Orme

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when Government Ministers last discussed Vietnam with the United States Government.

Mrs. Chalker

The Government keep in regular touch, both at ministerial and official level, with the United States Government on the problem of the Vietnamese boat people. I last discussed matters in Washington on 23 April.

Mr. Orme

Did the right hon. Lady raise with the United States Government their opposition to the International Monetary Fund assisting Vietnam? Does she agree that Vietnam's economy must be put right? If it is put right, that will resolve some of the boat people's problems, so it is urgent that action be taken now.

Mrs. Chalker

I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it is urgent that the economy of Vietnam is put right. I have urged a positive response by the United States to the international financial institutions, and the general issue of arrears owed to the IMF, including those of Vietnam, is being considered by the fund and bank in Washington.

Mr. Butler

Did my right hon. Friend impress upon our American allies the necessity for them to open their doors to more Vietnamese boat people instead of berating us and the Hong Kong Government?

Mrs. Chalker

I discussed with the United States people whom I saw the need for repatriation and the need to carry through the comprehensive plan of action, because without it there is no prospect of solving the problem of the boat people in Hong Kong. I hope that the United States will see the wisdom of the total programme that was agreed under the comprehensive plan of action.