§ Mr. Profumo
I would refer the right hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave on this subject to the hon. Member for Ash-field (Mr. Warbey) on 8th June. Since then, my right hon. and learned Friend has delivered to the Soviet Foreign Minister our reply to the Soviet Note of 30th May. I will circulate the former in the OFFICIAL REPORT. But I should like to stress three points in connection with this reply.
First, it is not true that the Government of Laos have in any way disregarded the Geneva Agreements. On the contrary, they have always observed them and, in the affair of the escaped battalion, have been making a genuine effort to integrate this battalion in the Laotian Army in accordance with the Agreement which they made with the Pathet Lao in November, 1957.
Secondly, Laos is a sovereign independent state and a member of the United Nations. It would be inconsistent with the undertaking to respect its sovereignty, contained in the Final Declaration of the Geneva Conference, to seek to impose the return of the International Commission on the Laotian Government against their wishes.95W
Thirdly, the Co-Chairmen of the Geneva Conference are not in a position to issue directions to the International Commission in this matter. If the Co-Chairmen were agreed (which unfortunately they are not), they could express their joint views. But the International Commission powers would have to decide for themselves whether to meet again and, if so, in what circumstances.
It is not the Laotian Government who have created a crisis. They have been peacefully ordering affairs in their own country. The essential point is that they should be left in peace to do so.