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Bombing Operations

Volume 477: debated on Monday 17 July 1950

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will give instructions to our representatives on the Security Council to ensure that precautions are taken to prevent the bombing of innocent non-combatants during bombing operations undertaken by the international police force.

By resolution of the Security Council Forces provided by member States have been placed under a unified command and General MacArthur has been nominated as Commander. The conduct of the operations in Korea is, therefore, in his hands, and I am confident that he will take every possible precaution to prevent the bombing of non-combatants.

Is the Minister aware that Mr. Trygve Lie has communicated to both sides a request to stop atrocities, and is not the dropping of 500 tons of bombs an atrocity?

In modern war the bombing of strategic objectives is one of the weapons which is used. The request of Mr. Trygve Lie, applied, of course, to the application of the International Red Cross Convention to co-operate in fulfilling the terms.

If it is one of the strategic purposes of war to drop bombs on towns, why does my hon. Friend tell the House that the Commander-in-Chief has received instructions to avoid the indiscriminate bombing of civilians?

Is it not a fact that the Air Forces of democratic countries do not bomb civilian populations, but are entitled to bomb military objectives, which is what they are doing?

That, of course, was the purport of my answer to the supplementary question of my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes). Obviously, the Commander-in-Chief is using his Air Force for military purposes, and military purposes only.

Are the forces in the unified command limited to the purpose of the resolution adopted by the Security Council?