HL Deb 28 January 1964 vol 254 cc1085-8

2.55 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask a Question, of which I have given Private Notice: Whether Her Majesty's Government will make a statement on the position arising out of the visit of Mr. Robert Kennedy, of the United States of America, to Indonesia and Malaysia so that we can, perhaps, think about it.


Mr. Robert Kennedy, the United States Attorney General, visited London from January 24-27 in order to inform Her Majesty's Government of the results of his discussions with Malaysian, Indonesian and Philippine leaders concerning Indonesian confrontation against Malaysia. During this period Mr. Kennedy had several meetings with my right honourable friend, the Foreign Secretary, with the Prime Minister and with other members of Her Majesty's Government.

We expressed our appreciation of Mr. Kennedy's success in obtaining an Indonesian promise to cease their incursions into Malaysia and to take part in tripartite negotiations. We also expressed the concern we felt at Indonesian reiteration, as soon as Mr. Kennedy had left Djakarta, of their determination to "crush" Malaysia. In our view no solution could be lasting which did not safeguard the independence and integrity of Malaysia. Her Majesty's Government for their part are firmly resolved to honour their obligation to meet Malaysian requests for assistance in defending these objectives.

As Mr. Kennedy pointed out, for the moment we can only hope for a successful issue resulting from the cease-fire and also the tripartite negotiations. The first instalment of these, at Foreign Minister level, is due to begin in Bangkok early in February. Her Majesty's Government hope that these negotiations will make good progress, and have in the meantime made their position clear to Mr. Kennedy on the basic issues involved. We look forward to continuing our discussion of this problem with the United States Government when the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary visit Washington early next month.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord the Leader of the House for the statement he has made on behalf of the Government. I must say I feel very satisfied with practically the entirety of it. It is essential at this point, in my view, that we should make it clear not only to our own countrymen but to the whole world that when a Federation like this has been set up within the British Commonwealth it has to be prevented from being invaded and interfered with. I am glad that on Thursday last my leader in another place indicated his pleasure at the fact that there was no mention in Mr. Kennedy's report about a cease-fire by Indonesia—which we welcome—that any such requirement will be laid upon Malaysia. The extent to which the Government have gone to-day in this statement of their measure of support for Malaysia gives us satisfaction. I hope it will be fully noted, by those people who are concerned, where the nation stands.


My Lords, I am grateful for what the noble Earl the Leader of the Opposition has said. I do not think there can be misunderstanding in any quarters as to Her Majesty's Government's support for Malaysia and our position on this issue.


My Lords, may I say that we on these Benches are particularly glad to hear to-day of the resolution of Her Majesty's Government to safeguard the independence and integrity of Malaysia. We fully support them in that and we hope it will be maintained. May I ask the noble Lord the Leader of the House whether, when discussing this matter with Mr. Kennedy, it was pointed out by the Government that the Indonesians are the aggressors, because in various television interviews with Mr. Kennedy that I saw reported I did not obtain the feeling that Mr. Kennedy fully understood that that was the position. There is only one aggressor here; that is, Indonesia. I would also ask whether Her Majesty's Government pointed out to Mr. Kennedy the situation in West Irian where, through interference by other parties, including the United States, the unfortunate people have been subjected to the mercy, or otherwise, of the Indonesian Government without any recourse to any outside Power or any outside assistance?


My Lords, I was present at most of the discussions with Mr. Kennedy over the week-end and I do not think that Mr. Kennedy has any illusions at all to who is or is not the aggressor in this matter. With regard to the second part of the noble Lord's question, of course one must always remember previous experience in that part of the world.


My Lords, may I ask my noble friend whether Her Majesty's Government represented to Mr. Kennedy the undesirability of further financial assistance being given by the United States to Indonesia so long as this aggression is going on?


My Lords, we discussed every aspect of this matter.


My Lords, with reference to my noble friend's last question, may I ask in particular whether we can take it that all American supplies and spare parts for aircraft to Indonesia will henceforth be discontinued?


My Lords, so far as I am aware, the United States Government are not sending arms to Indonesia, nor issuing new licences.


My Lords, is aggression rendered more tolerable if it is called "confrontation"?