HL Deb 23 January 1962 vol 236 cc849-51

3.40 p.m.


My Lords, with the permission of the House, I should like to make a short statement about arms for Indonesia. Her Majesty's Government are gravely concerned by the dangerous to imply that public-houses ought eventually to be opened whether or not the Government's proposals prove to be adequate or to satisfy the Scottish public, as we think they will. I will give him an undertaking that we will, of course, look at this proposal very carefully; but I cannot give him, and he will not expect me to give him, an undertaking that we will bring forward an Amendment in another place embodying his proposal.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents 41; Not-Contents 48.

Ailsa, M. Grantchester, L. Rea, L.
Amulree, L. Grenfell, L. Saltoun, L. [Teller.]
Amwell, L. Guest, L. Sandford, L.
Atholl, D. Hughes, L. Shepherd, L.
Auckland, L. Iddesleigh, E. Sinclair, L.
Balfour of Burleigh, L. Jessel, L. Stonehaven, V.
Burden, L. Kilbracken, L. Stonham, L. [Teller.]
Chorley, L. Latham, L. Stratheden and Campbell, L.
Colville of Culross, V. Lindgren, L. Summerskill, B.
Colwyn, L. Lucan, E. Taylor, L.
Denning, L. Mar and Kellie, E. Williams, L.
Derwent, L. Morrison of Lambeth, L. Wise, L.
Dundonald, E. Northesk, E. Wootton of Abinger, B.
Furness, V. Ogmore, L.
Ailwyn, L. Douglas of Barloch, L. Lansdowne, M.
Allerton, L. Effingham, E. MacAndrew, L.
Ampthill, L. Ferrers, E. Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Baldwin of Bewdley, E. Ferrier, L. Mills, L.
Bossom, L. Forster of Harraby, L. Milverton, L.
Carrington, L. Freyberg, L. Newall, L.
Chesham, L. Goschen, V. Newton, L. [Teller.]
Clwyd, L. Haddington, E. Perth, E.
Cobbold, L. Hailsham, V. (L. President.) Rank, L.
Cork and Orrery, E. Hastings, L. Rathcavan, L.
Cottesloe, L. Home, E. Reid, L.
Coutanche, L. Howard of Glossop, L. St. Aldwyn, E. [Teller.]
Craigton, L. Howe, E. St. Oswald, L.
Denham, L. Jellicoe, E. Somers, L.
Devonport, V. Kilmuir, V. (L. Chancellor.) Swinton, E.
Devonshire, D. Lambert, V. Waldegrave, E.

Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.

which has arisen between Indonesia and the Netherlands concerning West New Guinea. It is the firm hope of Her Majesty's Government that a negotiated settlement will be reached, and they are supporting the steps being taken to this end. They are accordingly most anxious not to do anything at this delicate stage which might increase tension in the area or in any way add to the possibility of armed conflict. Her Majesty's Government have therefore decided, as a temporary measure until the situation over West New Guinea has been clarified, that, apart from completing an outstanding order for ground radar equipment, they must suspend the export of arms and military equipment from Britain to Indonesia.


My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary, and the purpose behind the decision is undoubtedly worthy of respect and consideration. We are a little anxious, perhaps, whatever is done on this occasion, as to how far the Government's policy of the control of export of armaments is to run. I understood that there had been some difficulty between London and Washington with regard to the continued export of aeroplanes to Red China. If the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary feels there is no inconsistency in the two matters, all right, but I am just wondering exactly how we should regard them, although I can see a different basis for argument


My Lords, I 'think the two matters are different. This is a situation in which, on the evidence before us, war might be quite near. The other matter is one which concerns trade between the West and the Sino-Soviet bloc, and certain elements of that, certain things of military consequence which we do not sell to China. I do not think I will go into the question of the Chinese deal, but I think there is no inconsistency between the two decisions.


My Lords, are not the aeroplanes which are being exported to China civil aircraft, whereas the Indonesia decision relates entirely to purely military supplies?


My Lords, before the noble Earl answers that—I do not want to stop the answer to the noble Earl—is not the basis of the American objection that fittings and other things would be very valuable in the actual mounting of warfare?


My Lords, the answer to my noble friend's question is, Yes, these are civil aircraft. The answer to the noble Viscount is also partly Yes, because some of the things in the Viscount planes are on a strategic list, or could be. I do not think I should like to go into it fully without notice.