HL Deb 28 June 1962 vol 241 cc1009-12

3.22 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements are being made by the United Nations to ensure the maintenance of internal security in the Trust Territory of Ruanda-Urundi when it attains independence on 1st July as two separate States of Rwanda and Burundi.]


My Lords, the maintenance of internal security after the two territories of Rwanda and Burundi become independent on July 1 will be the responsibility of the Governments of those two territories. The resolution approved by the General Assembly on June 27 called on the Secretary-General to send immediately to the territories a representative with a team of experts whose functions include that of assisting the two Governments, at their request, in the development and training of their internal security forces. In addition, as fully sovereign States, the two Governments are fully entitled, if they so wish, to request the continuation of Belgian assistance.


My Lords, I see that yesterday's resolution also laid down that Belgian troops in process of evacuation will no longer have any rôle to play, and that the evacuation must be completed by August 1.… There has already been considerable bloodshed in the Ruanda. It is known, I think, that in the Biumba region alone on one morning in April 1,000 Watutsi were killed by the local Bahutu majority. I should like to ask my noble friend three questions. First of all, is he aware that there are still 200,000 Watutsi in Ruanda, and that if no effective internal security force is available there are almost inevitably bound to be wholesale massacres of Watutsi after this coming Sunday. Secondly, could not Her Majesty's Government sponsor a resolution in the Security Council, or falling that, in the General Assembly, to enable some of the 6,000 United Nations troops at present sitting in peaceful Southern Katanga to be transferred to Ruanda-Urundi as soon as possible? Thirdly, are they satisfied that proper arrangements exist in Uganda for the reception of further large numbers of Watutsi refugees?


My Lords, perhaps I may be allowed to ask the noble Earl another question, because I share the anxiety of the noble Lord, Lord Colyton; and I must say that I was slightly disturbed by the complacent note of the noble Earl's reply. I hope the noble Earl is aware (and this is my question) that it is a vital British interest that security should be maintained in these successor States, because if fighting breaks out after independence there is a considerable likelihood that it may spread to Uganda, where as the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, pointed out, there is already a large number of refugees. I hope that the noble Earl can satisfy us that he regards this as a vital British interest, whatever the responsibility for it may be?


My Lords, I am glad that the noble Earl is now beginning to share some of the apprehensions that I have constantly expressed to this House about giving independence to various countries in Africa without making proper provision for security.

In answer to the three questions asked by my noble friend Lord Colyton, I am certainly aware of the great dangers in this territory, and of the lack of provision for security. He asks whether we could not in this respect move a Resolution in the Security Council. But, after all, this matter is the primary responsibility of the United Nations and the Belgian Government, and the Belgian Government yesterday felt able to accept the resolution, including the operative clauses, on the understanding that it would be possible for one of the two territories, or both the territories, to make arrangements with the Belgian Government for the continued presence of Belgian troops.




So far, so good, But I must say that I had so many apprehensions about this situation that Sir Patrick Dean, as noble Lords will have seen, abstained on the operative clauses because he was unsatisfied that sufficient arrangements had been made.

So far as Uganda is concerned, there are, of course, a great many refugees already there, and we view the situation with considerable apprehension. But arrangements are being made to receive more, although we hope very much that the arrangements which may be made with the Belgian Government about the continued presence of troops will, in fact, keep the situation in control. But I share all the noble Lord's apprehensions in this matter.