HC Deb 24 January 1956 vol 548 cc11-2W
89. Mr. A. J. Irvine

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what instructions were given in April or May, 1954, to Her Majesty's Ambassador to the United States of America relating to his attendance at formal meetings at which the United States Government had proposed to discuss with other nations joint military action in Indo-China.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

On 13th April, 1954, Her Majesty's Government stated publicly that they were ready to take part with the other countries principally concerned in an examination of the possibility of establishing a collective defence in South-East Asia. At that stage, however, no agreement had been reached about timing and possible membership was clearly a matter for further examination in the light of the attitudes of Governments in the area or with interests there. When, therefore, Her Majesty's Government learned that an initial gathering of a number of Powers was to be held in Washington on 20th April, Her Majesty's Ambassador was instructed to suggest that this would be inopportune at that stage and liable to prejudge the membership of any defence organisation which might ultimately be set up.

90. Mr. A. J. Irvine

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what replies were given by Her Majesty's Government to the proposals made by the United States Government in 1953 and 1954 for joint military intervention by the United Kingdom and the United States of America in Indo-China; and what agreement was reached.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

As my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) told the House on 27th April, 1954, Her Majesty's Government were not prepared to give any undertaking about United Kingdom military action in Indo-China in advance of the results of the Geneva Conference. The United States Government were so informed and no such undertakings were, in fact, given.