Oral Answers to Questions — Indonesia (British Property)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd August 1965.

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Mr. Edward M. Taylor:

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps he is now taking to obtain compensation for British assets seized by the Indonesian Government; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Michael Maitland Stewart Mr Michael Maitland Stewart , Fulham

As the House is aware, ever since the Indonesian Government began their campaign to harass and take over British commercial interests in Indonesia after the establishment of Malaysia in September, 1963, Her Majesty's Government have made repeated representations, both in London and in Djakarta. I regret that there has been no Indonesian response to these representations.

Accordingly, on 22nd July, Her Majesty's Embassy at Djakarta delivered a Note to the Indonesian Department of Foreign Affairs stating that, in view of the complete inability of British enterprises and plantations to exercise and enjoy any of their rights of ownership in relation to their property in Indonesia, Her Majesty's Government have concluded that the Indonesian Government have expropriated this property. The Note expresses Her Majesty's Government's willingness to enter into negotiations with the Indonesian Government for the purpose of reaching a settlement and again reminds the Indonesian Government of their obligation in accordance with international law to provide prompt, adequate and effective compensation. I am arranging to place copies of the Note in the Library of the House.

Mr. Taylor:

is the right hon. Gentleman aware that on 1st December a Note in similar terms was delivered to the Ambassador in Djakarta and that no reply was received and that a further letter was sent which was not even acknowledged? Does not he think the time has come for stronger measures as in these circumstances my fear is that if we take no strong action it will simply encourage other countries to follow suit?

Photo of Mr Michael Maitland Stewart Mr Michael Maitland Stewart , Fulham

The Note in the terms which I have described is not the one on 1st December to which the hon. Gentleman is referring. We should give reasonable opportunity for a reply to be made to this Note before considering certain other measures.