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Burma (Assistance)

Volume 466: debated on Monday 27 June 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the results to date of the informal conference between India, Pakistan, Ceylon and the United Kingdom regarding assistance to the Government of Burma.

Representatives of the Governments concerned have been discussing assistance with the Government of the Union of Burma in Rangoon. The Burmese Government have expressed gratitude, and have indicated that they do not desire to incur external financial liability unless it is absolutely necessary. They have deferred a decision on this matter. Meanwhile, arrangements are in hand for the supply to the Government of the Union of Burma of arms and military equipment required by them.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the concern felt by some of us in this House that the arms being supplied to the Government of Burma are being used against the Karens and not only against the Communists? In view of the record of the Karens during the war, does he realise that that is causing some of us a lot of concern?

I can only say that our object is the assistance of the legal Government in Burma.

Has not the state of affairs to which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Hornsey (Mr. Gammans) has referred arisen because the Karens are now wholeheartedly supporting the Communists?