Liberation Movements (United Nations Assistance)

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th March 1972.

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Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell 12:00 am, 27th March 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement about material assistance given by United Nations specialised agencies or other organs of that body to liberation movements; and whether he will specify the movements concerned and the amount and nature of the assistance received.

Photo of Mr Anthony Kershaw Mr Anthony Kershaw , Stroud

In several resolutions, which the United Kingdom has opposed, the General Assembly has urged the specialised agencies to give moral and material assistance to the liberation movements involved in Southern Rhodesia, South West Africa and the African territories under Portuguese administration. Small sums of money have been given to refugees and educational institutions sponsored by liberation movements in the territories of neighbouring African States.

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell

Has my hon. Friend no word of condemnation? Is it not intolerable that United Nations agencies and our money should be used for aggression, particularly in view of the Assembly's resolution that the territory of one State should not be used to launch subversive attacks on the territory of another State?

Photo of Mr Anthony Kershaw Mr Anthony Kershaw , Stroud

As I have said to my hon. Friend, we voted against these resolutions and we consider that action to channel aid to liberation movements through the United Nations specialised agencies is tantamount to condoning violence as a means of achieving political aims. We do not support that.

Photo of Mr Alex Lyon Mr Alex Lyon , City of York

If these racialist Governments in Southern Africa rest on violence to deny human freedom and dignity, why is it wrong for United Nations agencies to take this stand and, in particular in the case of South Africa, which is in direct violation of international law over the occupation of Namibia, why is it wrong for the United Nations to take this stand towards it?

Photo of Mr Anthony Kershaw Mr Anthony Kershaw , Stroud

We consider it is unconstitutional for an international organisation to give support to any movement within a territory in circumstances where that movement has been declared unlawful by the acknowledged Government of the territory. There is no lack of opportunities to contribute, to which objection cannot be taken, such as the United Nations education and training programme for South Africa, which provides higher education for South African exiles and to which the United Kingdom is a principal contributor at £50,000 a year.

Photo of Mr James Scott-Hopkins Mr James Scott-Hopkins , West Derbyshire

Can my hon. Friend confirm that none of this money is being used for the purchase of arms? Can he also tell the House how much money is being given to the organisation for the liberation of the satellite States of Russia?

Photo of Mr Anthony Kershaw Mr Anthony Kershaw , Stroud

I cannot answer the last question because it is not my responsibility. As far as we can make out, the amount of money is about 400,000 dollars, but there may be something else of which we do not know.