HL Deb 02 December 1965 vol 270 cc1372-4

3.8 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 whether, with regard to the undeclared war in the Commonwealth between India and Pakistan, they will say what progress is being made towards implementation of the U.N. resolution requiring the referendum on the subject of Kashmir.]


My Lords, the United Nations Security Council, in its resolution of September 20, 1965, decided to consider, as soon as a cease-fire had been effected between India and Pakistan and their troops had been withdrawn to the positions held before August 5, 1965, what steps could be taken to assist towards a settlement of the political problem underlying the present conflict". The Security Council reaffirmed this decision in a further resolution of November 5, 1965.

In the view of Her Majesty's Government, the first priority is to secure a disengagement and withdrawal of the forces of both sides. Her Majesty's Government therefore welcomed the appointment last week by the United Nations Secretary-General, with the agreement of the Governments of India and Pakistan, of Brigadier General Tulio Marambio, Director of the Chilean War Academy, as his representative, as envisaged in the resolution of November 5, 1965, to meet with India and Pakistan representatives in the sub-continent in order to formulate an agreed plan and schedule for withdrawals within an agreed time limit. The Security Council is committed to consider the political differences between the Indian and Pakistan Governments as soon as withdrawals have taken place.


My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for the fullness of that reply. But since there are apparently over £200 million sterling loans outstanding, and since the Committee which is charged internationally with helping the economy of India has other commitments, could the noble Lord not give some indication—an indication which I did not get out of his reply—as to what instructions have been given to the United Kingdom representative in the United Nations to press for implementation of the United Nations' resolution? It would appear that that would have a material effect in assisting towards correcting the present situation.


My Lords, we support the United Nations' resolution, and the matter is before the United Nations Security Council. I think that at the moment we must leave it at that.


My Lords, is it not a fact that the Soviet Prime Minister has arranged to meet the leaders of Pakistan and India, with a view to trying to get a settlement of the political differences between the two sides? Is it therefore not better to leave it until that development takes place?


My Lords, my noble friend is quite right. There is to be this meeting in Tashkent; and, of course, if an agreement were reached there between the two Governments, Her Majesty's Government would warmly welcome this.


My Lords, while we all hope that the war between India and Pakistan will end, could my noble friend say whether, in view of the fact that for years there has been a cease-fire line at Muzaffarabad, in Kashmir, on the Pakistan side, and that a United Nations resolution was carried many years ago for a plebiscite in Kashmir, there can be any hope of a plebiscite in face of the answer of the Prime Minister of India that Kashmir is not an issue?


Yes, my Lords. Of course, we supported the proposals in the earlier resolution of the United Nations back in 1948, but there have been other events since then. As I said, the matter is now before the United Nations Security Council. There is, of course, the development to which my noble friend Lord Henderson referred, and I think we had best leave it at that for the time being.