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Korean Republic (Invasion)

Volume 476: debated on Wednesday 28 June 1950

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Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—[ Mr. Whiteley.]

May I, Mr. Speaker, with your leave and the leave of the House, interrupt the Business in order to make a statement?

The House will wish to know what action His Majesty's Government is taking in pursuance of the resolution of the Security Council passed yesterday calling on all members of the United Nations to furnish assistance to the Republic of Korea. We have decided to support the United States action in Korea by immediately placing our naval forces in Japanese waters at the disposal of the United States authorities to operate on behalf of the Security Council in support of South Korea. Orders to this effect have already been sent to the naval Commander-in-Chief on the spot. Notification of this action is being made to the Security Council, the United States Government, the Government of South Korea and all Commonwealth Governments.

I need scarcely say that the right hon. Gentleman speaks for all parties in the House when he makes this announcement. We shall do our best to give him any support he needs in what seems to be our inescapable duty. I should like, however, to ask him whether the naval force we have on the spot is such as to be able—and I hope he will be able to give me a favourable answer—to make a substantial contribution relative to the American forces which are there?

Yes, Sir. I think our forces are almost the same as those the United States have there.

May I add, on behalf of myself and my colleagues, an assurance to the Prime Minister that we are all behind him in the action he is taking and that if there is any support we can give, on behalf of the Security Council, we shall certainly be only too ready to do so? May I also ask the Prime Minister a question with regard to the forces there? Will he bear in mind that there is this position—that we hold and are responsible for a very long line and are carrying out a very heavy duty?

These are, of course, grave matters, fraught with the highest peril. May I ask my right hon. Friend whether the House of Commons is to be given any opportunity of discussing them at any time?

I think that is a question which might be put to the Leader of the House tomorrow.

The Prime Minister did not mention it but I presume that he has taken action in consultation with the Commonwealth countries. I should like to ask him whether that is so, and what contribution they are making towards the same end?

We have our responsibilities under the United Nations. We have taken this action. The Commonwealth countries are, equally with us, members of the United Nations and it is, of course, for them to decide what action they will take.

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.