Oral Answers to Questions — Commonwealth Countries (Unprovoked Aggression)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th July 1967.

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Photo of Mr Peter Blaker Mr Peter Blaker , Blackpool South 12:00 am, 18th July 1967

asked the Prime Minister what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government, as distinct from their obligations under specific agreements, in regard to coming to the assistance of a Commonwealth country which is the victim of aggression.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Her Majesty's Government would take all appropriate action to help any fellow member of the Commonwealth which was the victim of unprovoked aggression.

Photo of Mr Peter Blaker Mr Peter Blaker , Blackpool South

Will the Prime Minister give an assurance that there has been no change in policy about giving assistance to Commonwealth countries since the Labour Government came to power? On the other hand, is it not apparent that our ability to give assistance will be reduced gravely if the reductions east of Suez in our Forces foreshadowed in today's White Paper are carried out?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

There has been no change of policy in this matter. Each case has to be considered on its merits, as has always been the case; for example, in a case not long ago when two Commonwealth countries were involved in conflict one with the other. As to the second part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, I am sure that he will wish to study the White Paper before forming conclusions.

Photo of Mr Hugh Gray Mr Hugh Gray , Yarmouth

Has my right hon. Friend considered giving an assurance to India, and has he tried to persuade India to accept such an assurance so that she might be more ready to sign the non-proliferation agreement on nuclear weapons?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I do not think that the question of a unilateral undertaking to India in a nuclear sense is one which arises, and I am quite sure that it would not be acceptable to India. I agree that this is part of the discussions which must go on and continue at Geneva for giving assurances to non-nuclear Powers so that they are willing to sign the non-proliferation treaty.