HC Deb 31 January 1966 vol 723 cc159-60W
60. Mr. G. Campbell

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the events which led to the item proposed by Her Majesty's Government for discussion at the last session of the United Nations General Assembly, on the peaceful settlement of disputes, being deferred by vote to the autumn 1966 session against the wish of the United Kingdom delegation.

Mr. George Thomson

On 16th December last, half way through the debate on our item on the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes, a Ghanaian motion that the debate should be adjourned until the 21st Session of the General Assembly was carried by a vote of 48 in favour to 27 against with 8 abstentions. The Ghanaian motion and the support for it appear to have been inspired partly by suspicion that our item was aimed at particular disputes; this suspicion was, of course, groundless. Our motion was directed solely to improving procedures for resolving international disputes in general. The guillotine motion was put forward at a time when feelings, particularly amongst African delegations, were running high over Rhodesia. While one may understand these feelings, it is regrettable that the Committee should have allowed itself to be influenced by them, when considering a matter conmpletely divorced from the question of Rhodesia, into distorting the Rules of Procedure and denying the basic principle of free speech.