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Official Correspondence (Publication)

Volume 529: debated on Monday 5 July 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will publish a White Paper containing the correspondence, diplomatic notes and other correspondence which have passed between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Guatemala from April, 1953, to the present date.

I will consider this in connection with the White Paper to which I referred in my reply to the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes).

I thank the right hon. and learned Gentleman for that reply. Will he be good enough to include in that statement all the Notes which were issued following the bombardment of Corfu? Before congratulating himself on the fact that the Guatemalan aggression has fizzled out will he bear in mind that it was this kind of fighting which led to the First World War, and what is now happening in Guatemala might produce a similar result?

If any White Paper covered all the similar incidents which have happened in the past it would be a very long one indeed.

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that the replies which he has made on the question of Guatemala this afternoon indicate that Her Majesty's Government's policy is that intervention by the United Nations in cases of aggression is premature before that aggression has succeeded?

The right hon. Gentleman knows quite well that that is not the position. In this case there is a body of the States concerned, of which Guatemala is a member and to whose charter she has subscribed, and that body was admirably placed to take such steps as were necessary. As Argentina and Mexico are both members of the Organisation, I should have thought there could be no doubt about the balance of opinion in the Fact-Finding Committee.

Does the Minister agree that, summarising the Questions which have been asked by the party opposite, it is the opinion of that party that we should intervene in a civil war?

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that the action of the British delegate on the Security Council was designed to give time for this aggression to succeed, and that if this country had wished to avoid delay in the handling of this matter the best way would have been for the Security Council to have handled it itself, in which case Russia would not have vetoed the proposals?

The hon. Lady is misinformed. The Russian veto took place on 20th June. The British Government took the action they did because there was no other way in which progress could have been made. I do not believe that any other resolution would have escaped a veto.