Is it not a fact that the attitude of Burma to a proposed alliance on Asia is vitally important? How can the right hon. Gentleman expect this House to make any assessment of the future policy of the Government unless we are in possession of this vital fact?
I was speaking about our duty to preserve the confidence of those with whom we have had confidential discussions. It is not our business to make them public to the people of Burma over the heads of the Governments concerned.
Will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider the answers he has just given to Questions Nos. 50 and 52 and consult the Governments concerned to see that we have the maximum amount of information available compatible with the ordinary diplomatic confidences?
Yes, Sir, I am very anxious that the House should be carried along with the Government in any matters of foreign policy, especially as there is such a large measure of agreement on important issues. I do not think we can begin by loosely and curtly publishing documents which were considered to be private and confidential by the Prime Ministers and the Governments to whom we had addressed them.
As the Government of India have just published the essence of their views on this question, why is Her Majesty's Government suppressing the Indian view? Is it because they do not like the views of India on this matter?
No, Sir. I certainly would not give any such undertaking. The responsibility in these matters always rests with the Government of the day, and the House can do as it likes with them when all the facts are before it.
As there has been prolonged and what one might describe as hesitant negotiations, discussions, consultations and conversations on this matter, ought we not to be allowed to express our views about the outcome before we are faced with a fait accompli?
I think a statement can be made on Monday which will say all that there is to say on these difficult matters, which are in a very indeterminate position at the present time.