Would not my right hon. Friend agree that it was widely accepted that in his original statement the Prime Minister of the South Vietnamese Government, declared himself strongly in support of the doctrine of the late Herr Hitler? Does not my right hon. Friend also accept that in his later qualification Air Marshal Ky did not basically alter the attitude which he first expressed? Would my right hon. Friend also agree that if it were not for external support Air Marshal Ky would not remain Prime Minister of South Vietnam for a single week?
In an interview with journalists at a date before he became Prime Minister Air Marshal Ky referred to Hitler when talking of his own country's need for leadership in facing aggression. He has since told Her Majesty's Ambassador in Saigon that he did not intend to praise Hitler, and added the words:
Nobody can forget the inhuman methods Hitler used during the Second World War and which the Communists are using right now in our land.
My hon. Friend asks me whether we will withdraw recognition from the South Vietnam Government. That would create possibly a number of precedents and awkward examples. We did not withdraw recognition from the Soviet Government after the Nazi-Soviet pact was signed.
While thanking the Foreign Secretary for the comforting words which he has quoted from Air Marshal Ky, may I ask him whether he would accept that there could be no gain in South Vietnam if the Prime Minister, however foolish such remarks, were to be replaced by another totalitarian régime—namely, a Communist one?
The immediate issue with which we are concerned in South Vietnam is that at the moment it is the victim of attack from outside. Our concern is that these attacks shall be stopped so that the country shall be able to repair the ravages of war and get a Government fully in accord with the wishes of its people.
We have really no ground for supposing that it would help negotiations. At present our obligations under the 1954 Agreements require that we should not recognise two Governments in Vietnam.
Yes, Sir. As my right hon. Friend will agree, if one began to say that one would not talk to anybody who had ever made an unguarded remark about Hitler, conversation would be restricted in many directions.
We have frequent contacts with the Secretary-General of the United Nations through our Permanent Representatives to the United Nations and, as the House knows, U Thant visited London at the beginning of July when Vietnam and the Commonwealth Peace Mission were amongst the main subjects discussed.
We will continue to discuss the situation with the Secretary-General in the light of Ambassador Goldberg's letter of 30th July to the President of the Security Council.
In view of the letter to which my right hon. Friend has referred, calling on the United Nations to assist in bringing about a settlement, will he therefore support either a new initiative by U Thant or perhaps the reference of the question to the Security Council in order that the United Nations may be constantly involved in attempting to solve the problem?
As the House knows, one of the difficulties about getting the United Nations to play a rôle in this question so far has been the view of the Governments of North Vietnam and China that the United Nations had no jurisdiction here. None the less, and particularly in the light of Ambassador Goldberg's letter, I think we now should see if we can find, through this medium, a way of solving the problem.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that some of us who do not wish Her Majesty's Government to dissociate themselves from the United States Government consider that the United States Government should susspend all bombing operations in North Vietnam as a prelude to a cease-fire and the reconvening of the Geneva Conference? Will the Government support the Secretary-General of the United Nations in any peace formula that he proposes along these lines?
My right hon. and learned Friend will remember that, in the guide lines for the Commonwealth Peace Mission, there was an expression of the view that both the American bombing of North Vietnam and the hostilities conducted by the other side should stop. This seems to me to be the right formula in this matter.
I would refer the hon. Members to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's statement in the foreign affairs debate on 19th July and my own on 20th July on the visit of my hon. Friend the Member for Leek (Mr. Harold Davies) to Hanoi and the whole question of Vietnam. I have nothing more to add at this stage.
All the steps which we have taken so far have been carefully considered and have been welcome to our friends and allies and to the friends of peace. We have now to consider by what means further progress can be made and we are doing so. As I said in answer to an earlier Question, Ambassador Goldberg's letter raises a further possibility.
Reverting to the supplementary question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Sir A. V. Harvey) on Question No. 14, has it been intimated to the British Government that the Chinese Government would be prepared to receive the Commonwealth Mission if it were not led by a British Prime Minister, as recent reports have said? If so, what is the Government's attitude?
That challenge has not been accepted. Neither has the party opposite been able to find anyone outside its own circles to share its hostile views of this Mission. In view of the allegations from hon. Members opposite when this matter was last discussed, when they said that the Mission did not have the support of the United States, I think that I should refer the House to President Johnson's statement of 28th July when he made clear his support of the Mission.