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Indo-China (Defence)

Volume 499: debated on Wednesday 30 April 1952

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what reply he has given to the representations from the French Government about assistance in the defence of Indo-China in the event of an invasion of that country, either direct or indirect, by China.

Her Majesty's Government are in continuous consultation with the French Government on all matters affecting the defence of South-East Asia. If there were an aggression against Indo-China, the French Government and the Government of Vietnam would no doubt appeal to the United Nations. We have made it clear that in such an event Her Majesty's Government would not fail in their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations. As I have myself stated publicly, it would create a situation no less menacing than that which the United Nations met and faced in Korea; and the United Nations would, I trust, be equally firm to resist it.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his reply will be received with great satisfaction?

If the French lost hold of the key position in Indo-China, would not a most oppressive burden fall on our defences in South-East Asia, and are we not greatly indebted to the French for the sacrifices in blood and treasure which they are making?

Will the right hon. Gentleman say what he understands the phrase in the Question about "indirect" invasion to mean? Is it the sort of thing that is now being done by Chiang Kai-shek's troops in Burma?

It is hardly for me to interpret the questioner's thought. I should have thought he had in mind the sort of thing being done by the Chinese Communists in Korea.