On 4th December a force of about 250 Yemeni tribesmen invaded Federal territory and opened fire on a village seven miles on the Federal side of the border. They were engaged by Federal forces but remained on Federal territory until 6th December when air strikes were made against them. Federal territory is now reported to be clear of any Yemeni force.
On 8th December Her Majesty's Ambassador in Washington asked the United States authorities to convey a message to the Republican authorities in the Yemen protesting most vigorously against this flagrant violation of Federal territory. The message demanded that those responsible should be punished and any recurrence prevented, and we reserved the right to take steps to protect the territory of the Federation from further attack.
The attention of the Republican authorities was also drawn in the message to the terms of the Resolution adopted by the Security Council on 9th April which called for the exercise of the maximum restraint in order to avoid further incidents and to restore peace in the area.
Has any reply been received from the Republican authorities in the Yemen to these representations, and has any complaint been lodged with the United Nations against these armed raids? If they continue, will the Government consider taking suitable retaliatory action in the frontier areas?
My noble Friend, Lord Caradon, sent a letter to the President of the Security Council about this question, pointing out that it is the culmination of a series of incidents and attacks on Federal territory which have been reported to the Security Council during the last few months. Last April the British representative at the United Nations put forward a proposal for the stationing of United Nations observers along both sides of the border between South Arabia and the Yemen as a useful means of reinforcing the Security Council's call to avoid incidents and to reduce tension on the border. The Republican authorities in the Yemen did not respond favourably, but at this moment I do not think Her Majesty's Government can accept the hon. Gentleman's suggestion.
We have no evidence that the U.A.R. authorities in the Yemen were directly involved in this incident, but reports indicate that the Yemini forces had been well-armed and well- trained.
Why cannot the hon. Gentleman respond to my suggestion? It is a perfectly reasonable one. Are the Government serious in expressing their willingness to defend the Federation in accordance with our Treaty obligations to do so? It would not appear so unless they are prepared to take seriously the sort of suggestion I made.
I can only repeat the assurance which my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary gave on 11th December after his return from Aden, that under the terms of the 1959 Treaty with the Federation the Government are bound to protect the Federation from external attack, and that we fully intend to carry out our obligations.