United Nations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd February 1965.

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Photo of Mr Michael Maitland Stewart Mr Michael Maitland Stewart , Fulham 12:00 am, 23rd February 1965

I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman should have taken the tone he did. Like all human organisations, the United Nations has many defects, particularly in the light of the enormous task that it has to undertake. In my statement—and this was the point of our offer of logistic support—I have endeavoured to recognise that despite the very great objectives of the United Nations we have to consider what immediate practical thing we can do at any time. That was the purpose of my statement.

As for the nature of the peace-keeping committee, it is not in any sense a substitute for the Security Council. Nor, however, are its functions quite as narrow as the right hon. Gentleman has suggested. As I said, it is charged with a comprehensive review of the whole question of peace-keeping operations in all their aspects, including the present financial difficulties.

Further to the other points that the right hon. Gentleman raised, I do not think that a British Government have ever made as precise an offer as that which I have just announced. I accept that there must necessarily be certain reservations in it, but when the peace-keeping committee gets to its work and we, together with the other nations, are able to see what general structure for peace-keeping is emerging, we shall be able to make our own offer in a more precise form.

I do not charge my memory with the speeches made by the right hon. Gentleman four years ago. I hope that he will be prepared to agree that this is a useful and constructive contribution in what has been a very serious crisis in United Nations history.