HL Deb 03 May 1966 vol 274 cc316-7

2.39 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 what action is being taken to facilitate an agreement to end the confrontation between Indonesia and Malaysia in view of the changed administration in Indonesia.]


My Lords, as noble Lords will be aware, Her Majesty's Government have offered the Indonesian Government emergency aid, to the value of up to £1 million, to help them over their present economic difficulties: these, of course, have been aggravated by the disastrous floods in Java. This is a humanitarian gesture to which we have attached no conditions. I hope that it will help to create the atmosphere for an eventual settlement.


My Lords, while welcoming sincerely this gesture which the Government have made, may I ask my noble friend if this better psychology is to be used to try to secure an end of the confrontation between Indonesia and Malaysia, of which Indonesia has given some hope, and whether there will be an effort made to return to the pre-Malaysia situation, where at the Manila Conference proposals were made for a Confederation of the whole area—Indonesia, Borneo, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines? Does not the hope lie in that direction?


My Lords, Her Majesty's Government have always been anxious to do all in their power to bring an end to confrontation and to restore peace to that whole area. But my noble friend must remember that Malaysia is an independent country, and it is not for Her Majesty's Government to take the initiative in bringing an end to confrontation. All we can do is to give our best help to any move which is made by either side who are the protagonists in this matter.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord whether there has been any official Indonesian reaction to Her Majesty's Government's offer of aid, and if so, what it was?


My Lords, the Indonesian Foreign Minister has shown his grateful acceptance of this aid, but, so far as I know, there has been no further official action on the offer.


My Lords, is it not the case that this Government have 55,000 troops defending Malaysia? Does not that contribution to the defence of Malaysia give us some right to exert an influence towards securing a peace for the whole of this region?


My Lords, I think our general effort in helping our fellow Commonwealth members certainly gives us the right to do all that we can to promote a peaceful solution. That we have done in the past, and are doing at present. But I still want to underline the fact that it is not for us to say how peace will be achieved or on what terms.

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