HL Deb 22 June 1948 vol 156 cc1085-6

2.37 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask His Majesty's Government the question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

[The question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government, whether their attention has been drawn to the statement on the country's policy by the Premier of Burma, and whether they have any statement to make particularly with regard to the Hill Tribes who gave and risked their all to help the Fourteenth Army; and the possible repercussions of this policy upon the state of affairs in Malaya.]


My Lords, a programme was recently announced by the Burmese Prime Minister, in his capacity as President of the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League, which appeared to herald a change of policy in Burma and the abandonment of the principles of democratic Socialism. His Majesty's Government have now been assured that earlier reports of the Prime Minister's utterances were exaggerated, and that he is anxious to maintain existing good relations with thin country, while at the same time developing friendly relations with Russia and other countries. It is the policy of His Majesty's Government to maintain close relations with Burma in all fields, and they are confident that Britain and Burma have much to contribute to each other. Since their independence, the Burmese have benefited in a variety of ways from British assistance. His Majesty's Government remain anxious to continue to help them, but this must depend on the spirit In which they carry out the Treaty of October, 1947.

I am glad to be able to inform Your Lordships' House that on June 19 the Burmese Ambassador, on behalf of the Burmese Government, assured His Majesty's Government that Burma is not turning Communist, that her Government value the friendship of this country, that they intend to abide by the terms of the Treaty, and that they appreciate the assistance which they have received from His Majesty's Government.

His Majesty's Government believe that the great majority of the Hill Peoples in Burma are content with the present arrangements, and that the present Government would appear to have shown liberality and statesmanship in their dealings with them. His Majesty's Government see no signs of the events in Malaya having been influenced by recent developments in Burma, but they will continue to give the whole position in South-East Asia their closest attention.


I thank the noble Lord very much for his answer.

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