HL Deb 14 November 1963 vol 253 cc127-8

3.3 p.m.


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

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether it is a fact that the United States are supplying spare parts for American-built Hercules troop transports belonging to the Indonesian Government which are being used to drop supplies and troops near the Malaysian border in North Borneo.]


My Lords, I have seen the Press report to which the noble Lord is no doubt referring. The Ambassador in Washington has been asked to make inquiries from the United States authorities.


My Lords, if this information is confirmed, may I ask whether Her Majesty's Government will protest energetically against what appears to be the most unseemly behaviour on the part of an Ally in SEATO, involving the transport of Indonesian forces to be used against British troops defending Malaysia against aggression? I see in the midday newspaper that another two British soldiers and three Gurkhas have been killed on the frontier. What would the Americans say if we were to supply spare parts for aircraft to be used by the Vietcong in South Vietnam against American forces helping to defend that territory?


My Lords, before the noble Lord replies, may I just say that if this information is correct—and I have taken some steps this morning to ascertain that it is correct—the United States are in effect, if not in intention, waging war against us in the island of Borneo? As they are our principal Ally and closest friend, does the noble Lord not think that something a little more strong than an inquiry is called for; and that, if the facts as reported are ascertained to be true, a very strong protest should be addressed to Washington?


My Lords, I think before one makes a judgment on these matters it is just as well to find out what the facts are, and this is precisely what we are doing.