HL Deb 20 July 1960 vol 225 cc533-4

3.35 p.m.


My Lords, before we go on with these speculations, perhaps I may make my statement in answer to the Question which the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, asked earlier. The Foreign Secretary is making the statement in another place and he says:

"From what my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has already said when he spoke on the 14th of July, the House will know that we are giving our full support to the United Nations' action, and tonight the Security Council will meet to hear a progress report from the Secretary-General. I hope there will be general agreement that we have good cause to be grateful for the speedy and efficient manner in which Mr. Hammarskjoeld and his staff have begun discharging the difficult duties laid upon them by the Security Council. United Nations forces and assistance teams have been got out to the Congo very quickly. This has already improved the situation. The United Kingdom played their part in this.

"In response to an appeal from Mr. Hammarskjoeld we are providing food. We have also provided aircraft to help carry the Ghanaian contingent.

"In our view it is very important that all the offers of help and supplies should be channelled through the Secretary-General. I hope that when the Security Council meets this evening they will give unanimous support to Mr. Hammarskjoeld and agree that he must be left a large measure of dis- cretion in discharging his task. I am sure the House will agree that if the operation continues on the lines on which it has begun, the United Nations can be certain of receiving our full support."


My Lords, I sometimes get an opportunity of seeing what is going to be said, but on this occasion I have not had it. I should like to examine the statement in print tomorrow. But it seems that the report made to the other place to-day is a report of progress of the changeover in order to secure conditions of peace in the Congo, and I think it is very much to be welcomed. The statement of the Foreign Secretary seems to be in support of what we were advocating from both sides of the House earlier in this situation: that we should do all we possibly can as a country to help the collective action of the United Nations in this matter.