It is not my day, Mr. Speaker. Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether he agrees with the suggestion made by Mr. Kosygin that the Geneva Conference is, perhaps, too unwieldy a body to negotiate a separate peace and that it would be better to set up an ad hoc body of smaller character, including France and China?
There are a variety of ways, as I have said to the House quite a number of times before, in which we might get the exercise to end this war started, and the number of ways in which we might reach a conference table and final solution of the problems at the Geneva Conference could easily at some stage form part of the machinery, but at what stage is a different question.
As the House knows, we, warmly welcomed U Thant's proposals made on 14th March, which included a total military standstill. This would, of course, have applied to United States bombing. Since the proposals were also promptly accepted by the American Government, the need for representations to them did not arise.
While I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply, and want at all costs to avoid over-simplified condemnation of the United States because of the complexities of the situation, would not my right hon. Friend agree that U Thant's initiative, particularly on the question of degree and difference between support for either side within South Vietnam and expansion of the conflict beyond the frontiers of South Vietnam, gives an oportunity for stressing positive policies and thereby encouraging liberal forces within the United States?
But is not my right hon. Friend aware that the weight of the weaponry deployed by the United States in Vietnam is now so great as to make the genocide of the civilian population almost an accepted and inevitable part of their activity? Is he not condoning policies which result in the killing and burning of women and children, and is he not himself in danger of becoming an accessory to the crime if he continues to condone it?
I would not even bother to reply to the accusation at the end of that supplementary question. On the first part of it, I repeat what I have said to my hon. Friend and others many times. All of us deplore all the murder and suffering which is going on in Vietnam today, and should be doing, as I trust I am doing, what we can to bring it all to a halt.
Is the Foreign Secretary aware that over the weekend there was yet another incident in which innocent civilians were killed by the actions of the United States in bombing their village? Is not this repugnant to the whole of the civilised world? Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to represent to the United States Government the disgust of the British people at action taken against civilians in South Vietnam?
Would my right hon. Friend understand that there is a great deal of anxiety in this country and throughout the world about the kind of war which is going on in Vietnam? Whereas both sides of the House understand the complexities, it is important that the opinion of Her Majesty's Government should be impressed on Mr. Johnson, the President of the United States, that there is a point beyond which there can be no return. We must impress on him that the suffering and loss of life must be controlled.
There is a great deal of anxiety, which I share to the full. I do not believe that addressing that kind of remark to one of the parties will help to bring the suffering and our anxieties to an end.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that, whatever may be felt about the actions of the United States leading to the present tragedy in Vietnam, the recent publication of correspondence between President Johnson and Ho Chi Minh goes a good way to vindicating the attitude of Her Majesty's Government to American bombing?