HL Deb 27 April 1982 vol 429 cc778-9

2.47 p.m.

Lord Brockway

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 who will be the members of the United Kingdom delegation to its second special session of the United Nations General Assembly, and whether they will support the proposal that representatives of non-governmental organisations and peace and research institutions should serve on a working group.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Belstead)

My Lords, the United Kingdom will be represented at the United Nations special session by our delegation to the Committee on Disarmament, supported by arms control experts from the Foreign and Commonwelth Office and our mission to the United Nations. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister is expected to make the main British statement during the first fortnight of the session. I am glad to say that Mr. Frank Judd, the director of Voluntary Service Overseas and a member of the national executive of the United Nations Association, has agreed to accompany the United Kingdom delegation as an independent adviser in liaison with British non-governmental organisations.

Lord Brockway

My Lords, is the Minister aware that I very much welcome the suggestion that Mr. Judd should go as an observer? Is it not the case that in the first assembly, four years ago, my noble friend Lord Noel-Baker was invited and contributed much to the magnificent final document that was adopted? As regards working committees, is it not the case that the non-governmental organisations are able to give evidence to Select Committees of the United Nations? Would it not be very desirable that their expertise should be available on the working committees?

Lord Belstead

My Lords, I accept the importance which the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, places upon the evidence which non-governmental organisations can give in the context of this special session of the United Nations General Assembly. In the preparatory committee for the special session we are supporting the proposal that non-governmental organisations and research institutes should be allowed two days in which to present their views and proposals. It has already been agreed that their working papers should be made available to official delegations.

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