Skip to main content


Volume 529: debated on Monday 28 June 1954

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a further statement on, the situation in Guatemala and the safeguarding of British lives and property.

Since my right hon. Friend reported to the House on 21st June both sides have continued to make conflicting claims and counter claims. The insurgents claim to be advancing on Guatemala City, and Her Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires in Guatemala City has confirmed the report that President Arbenz of Guatemala has resigned and handed over to Colonel Diaz, the Chief of the Armed Forces.

According to Her Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires all British subjects in Guatemala are still safe. Damage to British property was caused when the Shell Company installation outside Guatemala City was machine-gunned by an unidentified aircraft on 22nd June.

In addition, the master of the British ship "Spring Fjord" reported to Her Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires on 27th June that his ship was bombed by an unidentified aeroplane and set on fire off the Guatemalan port of San Josée. The crew are safe. Communications with San Josée. are interrupted but Her Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires is endeavouring to obtain further details.

Her Majesty's representatives in neighbouring countries have also been instructed to make urgent inquiries of the Governments concerned in an endeavour to establish the identity of the attacking aircraft.

In view of these incidents, is it not becoming increasingly evident that this matter concerns nations other than those in Central and South America, and is it not extremely unfortunate, therefore, that Mr. Lodge, chairman of the Security Council, should have made a statement warning off the United Nations from interfering in this situation? Can we take it that it is the policy of the Government that the report that may be received from the fact-finding commission going into Guatemala and the neighbouring countries shall be considered officially by the Security Council?

Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman any information about the nationality of the aircraft which, it was reported recently, had attacked some of the main cities of Guatemala? Is there any indication at all where it came from?

Ought we not to make representations to the United Nations Security Council, therefore, that it ought to make the necessary inquiries to establish the facts?

There is another Question on the Paper about the Security Council, and I will deal with that in answering it.

Why did the British representatives abstain from the most recent vote that the matter should be referred to the Security Council?

There is another Question that we shall come to in a moment about the Security Council.