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Anglo-Us Discussions

Volume 526: debated on Monday 12 April 1954

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15 and 20.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) in view of the forthcoming Geneva Conference which is to discuss the Indo-China problem, the policy of Her Majesty's Government on this problem;

(2) whether his attention has been drawn to the official statement of the United States Government that consultations have been taking place with Her Majesty's Government and other Governments on the general situation confronting South-East Asia; and whether he will make a statement.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the recent conversations between Her Majesty's Ambassador in Washington and the United States Secretary of State concerning the policies of the Western Powers in South-East Asia.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what warning Her Majesty's Government have issued to the Government of China, either unilaterally or in association with the Governments of other countries, about retaliatory action in the event of Chinese support for campaigns in Indo-China, following the official proposal made to them by Mr. Dulles.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement on Mr. Dulles' official proposal, made to this country, that there should be concerted action among the Western countries with regard to Indo-China.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the nature of the official representations received from the United States Government concerning international action in Indo-China; and what reply he has made.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what reply Her Majesty's Government has given or proposes to give to the official representations from the United States Government concerning united retaliatory action in Indo-China.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the matters on which he has consulted, or proposes to consult, Mr. John Foster Dulles during his visit to London.

As hon. Members will be aware, Mr. Dulles arrived in London yesterday to continue the discussions that have been going on for some weeks with both the United States and French Governments in preparation for the Geneva Conference. I am sure the House will not press me to say any more while my right hon. Friend is engaged in these important discussions with Mr. Dulles. My right hon. Friend will, of course, make a statement as soon as possible after these conversations have been concluded.

Cannot the Minister convey to Mr. Dulles that the wild statements being made from time to time in America before the negotiations take place are not serving the cause of democracy or Anglo-American understanding?

Will the Minister make it clear that we have not been a party to any arrangements by which there is a threat to the Chinese that, in the event of their doing something in the Indo-China campaign we shall join with the Americans in retaliating by wiping out enormous numbers of the Chinese people with the hydrogen bomb?

I have already said that my right hon. Friend is having discussions with Mr. Dulles about the preparations for the Geneva Conference. I do not think that it is in the public interest to make any further answer today.

May I take it that the Foreign Secretary will definitely make a full statement before the rising of the House on Thursday?

I certainly hope that that will come within the terms of the last sentence of my answer.

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman make clear to Mr. Dulles the fact that he does not seem to understand that the issue in Indo-China is not a question of Communists versus the democratic West but nationalists who have been captured by the Communists because the French will not give their country independence?

I am quite sure that my right hon. Friend will discuss all aspects of this matter with Mr. Dulles.

Cannot the Minister give the House an assurance now that he will give no undertaking that British forces will be sent to Indo-China in any hypothetical circumstances?

I am certain that it would be wrong for me to make any statement with regard to discussions that are now in progress.

Cannot the Minister give us an assurance that it is the Government's policy to seek a negotiated settlement of the Korean and Indo-Chinese problems at the Geneva Conference and that their belief that it is possible to get a negotiated settlement will be made clear to Mr. Dulles?

That proposition is contained in the communiqué which was issued after the Berlin Conference.

Is not the important thing that no ultimatum should be given to China at the moment that might jeopardise the whole future, and the holding, of the Geneva Conference?

I shall certainly convey to my right hon. Friend all these expressions of opinion; but these discussions are now pending.