Skip to main content

Guatemala (Situation)

Volume 529: debated on Tuesday 29 June 1954

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


asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement about the situation in Guatemala and about the proceedings of the, Security Council of the United Nations on the appeal made to it by the Guatemalan Government.

I have been asked to reply. Her Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires in Guatemala has confirmed that a state of seige has been declared and that a military junta has taken over power under Colonel Diaz, Chief of Armed Forces. A decree has been issued outlawing the Guatemalan Communist Party.

I have nothing to add to the reply given yesterday by my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State about the proceedings of the Security Council.

As the American Commission of Inquiry is to act for the United Nations in this matter, will the right hon. Gentleman urge that the Commission should arrive on the spot before the fighting ends and that it should go first to the place from which the invasion was launched? Would it not be dangerous to the authority of the United Nations if it were thought that the Commission was merely a device to gain time while the rebellion succeeds?

As far as I am aware the Commission is under the Organisation of American States, and comes under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter. It is something which is entirely constitutional and within the general framework of the United Nations. We certainly hope that it will operate not only constitutionally, but in an expeditious manner.

Could the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether the Commission has now started its investigations and whether the Government made a request that the Commission should investigate the circumstances surrounding the bombing of the British merchant ship two days ago, with special reference to the identity of the aircraft which caused the damage?

Yes, I was aware of this incident. We are making our own inquiries about that and as soon as we have the information we shall make it available.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the fact-finding Commission has any time-table within which it has to report?

It is difficult for me to reply on the exact physical details of the Commission, but as far as we are concerned I can say on behalf of Her Majesty's Government that the sooner we hear of its activities and report the better.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the matter does or does not still remain on the agenda of the Security Council?

I am informed by the Minister of State that it is not on the day-to-day agenda.

Since this Commission is to act for the United Nations, and it is four days since the decision was made by the Council, will the Government now urge that the Commission should leave immediately?

I think we can take it that my answer will be noted as representing the views of Her Majesty's Government.