§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their attention has been drawn to the formal renunciation by Indonesia of her pledge to the United Nations to hold a plebiscite with United Nations participation in West Irian not later than 1969; and whether Her Majesty's Government will, as a matter of urgency, bring this issue before the Security Council in order that a plebiscite be held, and the vital interests of the West Irian people be safeguarded.]
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS (LORD BESWICK)
My Lords, the Indonesian Government have assured Her Majesty's Government that it is their intention to hold the plebiscite to which the noble Lord refers. The second part of the Question does not, therefore, arise.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, can the noble Lord inform the House why the Indonesian Government made a formal renunciation of their pledge, if they now intend to hold the plebiscite? Is it not a fact that if they do not hold the plebiscite they will be in flagrant defiance of the United Nations? Furthermore, is the noble Lord aware that when, on November 21, 1963, I asked the then Government in this House whether they would ensure that the rights of the West Irian people are being preserved, the Government spokesman assured me that United Nations experts would visit the territory from time to time and report to the United Nations?
§ LORD BESWICK
My Lords, I think that what the noble Lord is referring to is a Press report in this country, based on a foreign agency report, which was not accurate. As I have said, the Indonesian Government have since assured Her Majesty's Government that they propose to hold this plebiscite. There is therefore no question of any formal renunciation.
§ THEEARL OF DUNDEE
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord whether he is aware that when this pledge was given to the United Nations at the end of 1962, a much better plan, which would have placed West Irian under the direct rule of the United Nations, obtained a clear majority in the General Assembly, but not a two-thirds majority? Next, is the noble Lord aware that in order to get agreement on this question, general agreement, the Dutch were prevailed on by very strong pressure from their friends and allies to acquiesce in this present arrangement, although they were very unhappy about it, on the strength of this pledge? Finally, does the noble Lord really confirm that reports that the pledge is not going to be observed are untrue, and, to the best of the Government's knowledge, is the plebiscite going to be held under the auspices of the United Nations and not under the auspices of the Indonesians?
§ LORD BESWICK
My Lords, the answer to the first two of the noble Earl's questions is that I was aware of the earlier history. So far as the later and more recent history is concerned, and that is what we are concerned with, the fact is that this pledge was given and the present Government intend to honour the pledge. I feel that it is possibly a little unreasonable to assume that the present Indonesian Government, which has done so much to establish her place in international affairs and which has already rejoined the United Nations, intends to dishonour that pledge.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord whether he is aware that I am delighted with the news that he has given us this morning, and that it is most unfortunate that this statement about the renunciation was very widely publicised and in fact had the honour of a leader in The Times, so that it was not a mere rumour and must have been some very serious misapprehension? Furthermore, may I ask the noble Lord, as I asked his predecessor in 1963, whether the United Nations will send experts into Indonesia from time to time and whether these experts will report on what they have seen so that we, who are responsible as members of the Security Council, will know the extent to which the wishes and desires of the Security Council have been carried out?
§ LORD BESWICK
My Lords, I am afraid that I cannot, obviously, give any undertaking in answer to the second part of the noble Lord's question. I will make inquiries and let the noble Lord know the result of those inquiries.