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Korean Republic (Invasion)

Volume 476: debated on Wednesday 28 June 1950

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asked the Prime Minister whether he has any statement to make on the Korean situation.

The battle situation remains confused, particularly round Seoul where there have been penetrations by North Korean forces. On the East coast, North Korean forces have now established contact with the beachhead south of Kangnung—20 miles south Of the 38th parallel.

A resolution by the United States delegate, recommending that
"the members of the United Nations furnish such assistance to the Republic of Korea as may be necessary to repel the armed attack and so restore international peace and security to the area"
was adopted by the Security Council by seven votes in favour and one vote against. The United Kingdom delegate voted for the resolution. The Yugoslav delegate voted against the resolution, whilst the Indian and Egyptian delegates did not participate in the vote as they had been unable to establish contact with their Governments; they added, however, that, if the majority of the Council desired to proceed to vote, they did not wish to stand in their way.

A Yugoslav draft resolution recommending a renewed call for cease-fire, mediation between the parties, and the invitation of the North Korean representative to the Council Chamber was rejected by one vote in favour (Yugoslavia) and seven votes against it. The Indian and Egyptian delegates likewise abstained on this resolution.

I should like to take this opportunity of correcting an error which I made in answer to a supplementary the day before yesterday when I referred to our representative in Korea as a "Consul." He is in fact a Minister.

May I ask the Prime Minister one question. He read out the terms of the Resolution. Would he tell us whether His Majesty's Government contemplate any action in support of the United Nations' Resolution?

Is the Prime Minister aware of the statement made by General Marshall on 30th May that the Western European Powers realise that whoever won another war, their generation would lose; and is that being constantly borne in mind in this matter?

Will the Prime Minister bear in mind that as a leading member of the United Nations, we are in honour bound to take a share in the burden in Korea which is at present being borne by the Americans alone?

The hon. Member can take it as certain that this country will carry out its obligations to the United Nations. He is also aware, no doubt, that this country is already carrying a heavy burden in holding the line in South-East Asia.

We certainly have confidence that His Majesty's Government will act up to their supreme international obligations.

The Prime Minister said yesterday that the American Government was strengthening its defences in the Philippines. Can I ask the Prime Minister if he will consider the situation in Hong Kong and whether the Government will be strengthening the British air defences at Hong Kong?

That is another matter which will naturally be taken into consideration.

May I ask the Prime Minister who decides what military assistance is given by the respective Powers; whether it will be left to ourselves to decide what military assistance is given, or whether this is decided by the Security Council in making the appeal?

The hon. Member will see the Resolution. The Resolution which asks for their assistance does not lay down what assistance shall be given by any particular Power.

Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance to this House and to the country that the efforts of the Government will be to localise this conflict to Korea?


Under Standing Orders, Rule 9, I rise to propose to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance arising out of the situation in Korea, namely, the need for the immediate issue of instructions to our delegate at Lake Success to move, under Article 109, the reform of the United Nations so that it shall become a world government, able to make and enforce world laws.

The hon. Member has asked leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance arising out of the situation in Korea, namely, the need for the immediate issue of instructions to our delegate at Lake Success to move, under Article 109, the reform of the United Nations so that it shall become a world government, able to make and enforce world laws.

I am afraid that that is a subject which does not come under Rule 9 at all. It is far too wide to be considered in order, and I cannot accept such a Motion.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Would you allow me to submit to you considerations why this matter does come under Rule 9, and is both definite and urgent? While, on the one hand, it appears that we have asserted that we are supporting the legal decision of the world authority for collective action, at the same time, we appear to be supporting armed intervention which was initiated—

The noble Lord is rising to a point of order. I think he is entitled to do so.

My hon. Friend had risen to a point of order, and, I understand, was making a point of order to you when the noble Lord interrupted with a further point of order.

I think that is right. We can only have one point of order at a time, and the hon. Member for Yardley (Mr. Usborne) is now on a point of order.

Thank you very much for your help in what is to me a very difficult and awkward subject to deal with briefly. We appear, on the one hand, to have asserted that we are supporting the legal action of the world authority for collective action—

It is a point of order. May I be allowed to finish it and show that it is? On the other hand, we are clearly supporting an armed intervention which was initiated in advance of the collective decision of the body which made the law and that demonstrates the absurdity of the position. Furthermore—

We cannot have a point of order when another point of order is being discussed.

Furthermore, we are apparently implicitly condoning in respect of Formosa, the virtual occupation of a part of the territory of a nation whose sovereignty we have formally recognised.

I do not think that is a point of order. The hon. Member is not entitled to put arguments which he would put if I allowed him to move the Motion. He can only point out where perhaps my Ruling may be mistaken.

I am sorry if I appear to have gone beyond the rules. I was pointing out that the matter is urgent now and surely definite.

I have to rule on it now. I rule it is not urgent now, and the hon. Member must point out where I am wrong and not discuss the subject he would like to discuss.

I did not know it was possible to argue these decisions, but, since the hon. Member for Yardley (Mr. Usborne) has definitely stated that the decision of a friendly Government, supported by His Majesty's Government, was taken in advance of the proceedings of the authority from whom they derived the necessary powers, I suggest that is a very serious suggestion and I ask the Attorney-General, or the Government, to confirm or deny it.

I do not know whether it is in order for me to respond to the question addressed to me by the right hon. Gentleman—

I think we shall have this point of order settled now, because it is quite obvious, from what the hon. Member for Yardley has said, that this is a very complicated matter which is not a definite matter of urgent public importance. It may be of urgent public importance but it is so wide that by previous rulings of Speakers it does not come within Rule 9 at all. Therefore, I cannot accept it and it cannot be argued any further.

Is it not out of order—I ask for information—to institute a Debate on rulings and decisions which you give from the Chair in respect of Motions for the Adjournment?

Not quite out of order. I think an hon. Member is entitled to make submissions, in case by chance I have misunderstood the proposition, but to give reasons which would be applicable to the Debate, if I had allowed it, would be quite out of order.

May I have the opportunity of saying that His Majesty's Government entirely dissent from the view that the action of the United States Government was not both within the Charter and within their legal powers under international law.

Perhaps I might quote from a former ruling of Mr. Speaker Peel, which explains the matter completely. This is the reason for ruling it out:

"I do not think it is contemplated that a question of very wide scope … could be the subject for discussion under Rule 9."
That, I am afraid, is my opinion. I must leave it to Rule 9.