Oral Answers to Questions — South-East Asia (Defence)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd May 1954.

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Photo of Major Geoffrey Bing Major Geoffrey Bing , Hornchurch 12:00 am, 3rd May 1954

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs which nine countries, in addition to the United Kingdom, it is proposed should form the membership of the security association for South-East Asia.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I do not know to what proposal the hon. and learned Gentleman refers.

Photo of Major Geoffrey Bing Major Geoffrey Bing , Hornchurch

Has not the right hon. and learned Gentleman seen the statement made by the acting Foreign Minister of Australia in which he said that there are 10 countries to be included in this proposed pact, including Australia and New Zealand? Will he tell the House whether information given to Australia has been withheld from the Foreign Secretary here?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I have not seen the statement to which the hon. and learned Gentleman refers. So far as I am aware, there is no such proposal relating to 10 countries.

Photo of Major Geoffrey Bing Major Geoffrey Bing , Hornchurch

If I send the right hon. and learned Gentleman the statement, which appeared in "The Times," and put down a further Question, will he or the Foreign Secretary comment on it?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I will certainly consider anything the hon. and learned Gentleman sends me, but I repeat that there has been no such proposal about 10 countries joining in such an arrangement.

Photo of Major Geoffrey Bing Major Geoffrey Bing , Hornchurch

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any further statement to make in regard to the proposed security pact for South-East Asia.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I have nothing to add to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 27th April.

Photo of Major Geoffrey Bing Major Geoffrey Bing , Hornchurch

Does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman think, in view of his answer to the previous Question, that he should say that this country will not be a party to any arrangement to which India, Burma, Ceylon and other Commonwealth countries concerned are not parties?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I certainly do not think I could go so far. The Government are in exactly the position in the matter that they were when the Prime Minister made his recent statement.

Photo of Major Geoffrey Bing Major Geoffrey Bing , Hornchurch

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman's answer mean that he is prepared to consider entering into a pact from which these Commonwealth countries are excluded?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

It depends entirely on the nature of the pact and on the purpose of the pact.