Oral Answers to Questions — Federation of Malaysia – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th June 1963.

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Photo of Mr Fenner Brockway Mr Fenner Brockway , Eton and Slough 12:00 am, 27th June 1963

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will make a statement on the progress of the discussions regarding the establishment of the Federation of Malaysia.

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

Very substantial progress has been made in the constitutional and other preparations for the establishment of the Federation of Malaysia. Malayan and Singapore Ministers are at present in London discussing with me certain issues which are still outstanding.

Photo of Mr Fenner Brockway Mr Fenner Brockway , Eton and Slough

In view of the failure of the Federation in Central Africa and in the West Indies, will the right hon. Gentleman take the utmost care to be sure that the peoples of these territories spontaneously desire this Federation? Has a reply been sent from the Government to the proposal of the Foreign Ministers of Malaya, Indonesia and the Philippines that before the Federation is introduced the United Nations should have the responsibility of investigating whether the peoples of all these territories support this Federation?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

I think the hon. Member knows that the peoples of the North Borneo territories demonstrated their desire to join Malaysia in a very clear manner in the elections which took place both in North Borneo and in Sarawak, When the hon. Member speaks of the proposal that the United Nations should send a representative to ascertain their wishes, I think that he is referring lo a recommendation by the Foreign Ministers of the three countries, which attended the Manila conference, to their own Governments. The three Governments are to meet again at Prime Minister level to consider that recommendation. Meanwhile, there have been consultations between the Malayan Government and the British Government.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton

Are we to take it that in any case the proclamation of the Federation will take place on 31st August? Has the right hon. Gentleman paid any special attention to Brunei, which is in rather an exceptional position? That being so, may I ask him whether the proclamation of the Federa- tion might take place with the exclusion of Brunei for the time being?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

The target date for the formation of the Malaysian Federation is 31st August. I hope that the various negotiations on outstanding points will be completed in time to realise that target date, but it depends on the negotiations being completed. We have always made it clear that the question of Brunei was one which must be negotiated between the Government of Brunei and the Government of Malaya. I hope that they, too, will manage to settle any differences which are still out sanding before that date. But that would not of itself hold up the formation of the Federation.

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell

Will my right hon. Friend clarify what he said about the United Nations and re-state the principle that relations between Commonwealth territories shall be settled within the Commonwealth and not within the United Nations?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

I did not state any principle. I tried merely to remind the House that what has happened is that the Foreign Minsters of the Philippines, Malaya and Indonesia have made a recommendation to their own Governments. That is the present position.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee West

Would not the Secretary of State agree that on the narrower question of the realisation of the Federation of Malaysia it is not so much a question of further ascertaining the wishes of the people, for a great attempt has been made to do that, as of securing a successful financial settlement between the various Governments? In view of the very great importance of this whole area to the Federation, and of pressing these matters to a conclusion next month, will he do everything in his power to facilitate a successful conclusion to these predominantly financial arrangements?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

The differences are not exclusively or even primarily between the British Government and the others. Certain difficulties have arisen in the negotiations between the Government of Singapore and the Government of Malaya. I am trying to sort them out. It is not easy, but I am hopeful that we shall still find satisfactory solutions.