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Formosa (Situation)

Volume 536: debated on Tuesday 1 February 1955

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asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his recent interchange of views with President Eisenhower on the question of Formosa.

I have nothing to add to the very full statement made by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary on 26th January, and his reply to Questions yesterday. A new fact has however occurred. The Security Council has decided to send an invitation to the Chinese Government to attend the discussion. Her Majesty's Government regard the Security Council's action as a genuine attempt to seek a peaceful solution and they therefore very much hope that the Chinese Government will accept the invitation.

In view of the powers which have now been given to President Eisenhower, and the intense interest in this country in what events in Formosa may bring, will he make it clear to, and press on, the President that feeling in this country is strongly against any development of war in the Far East, and that this country wishes to have no participation in it?

I do not think it would be my business through any channels to convey that kind of message.

In view of the great gravity of the situation and what the Prime Minister has just said, will he consider whether the Foreign Secretary should not sit as our representative in the Security Council at its meeting next week? Is it not plain that debates in the Council and negotiations outside cannot be adequately dealt with by an official acting on cabled instructions?

I certainly do not think we have any reason to complain of the way in which our affairs have been conducted.

Does not the Prime Minister agree that it would be most valuable if the British Government made it publicly known that they regard the early withdrawal of Nationalist troops, at any rate from the offshore islands, as the most important practical step towards a cease-fire in this area?

I have no further statement to make on these subjects at the present time.


asked the Prime Minister to what extent his joint declaration with the late President Roosevelt and the late Marshal Stalin that Formosa should be restored to the Chinese Government, remains the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

There seems to me to be a misprint in the hon. Member's Question. To correct it the words "Marshal Stalin" should be left out and the words "Generalissimo Chiang Kaishek" inserted. This was, in fact, the Cairo Declaration of 1st December, 1943. It contained merely a statement of common purpose. Since it was made a lot of things have happened. As the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) explained to the House on 11th May, 1951—and I shall be very glad to send the hon. Member a copy of what he said—the situation has changed. The problem of Formosa has become an international problem in which a number of other nations are closely concerned. The question of future sovereignty over Formosa was left undetermined by the Japanese Peace Treaty.

With apologies for the error, may I ask the Prime Minister whether the declaration made on that occasion was to the effect that Formosa rightly belonged to China? In view of the fact that we recognise the present Government, called the People's Republic Government of China, does it not follow that that seems to be an assurance that Formosa should now revert to the control and sovereignty of the present Government, called the People's Republic Government?

I think the hon. Member would do well to read the reply given by the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South when he was responsible in this matter.

Would the right hon. Gentleman not make it clear that in everybody's opinion—that of all contending parties—Formosa is part of China and that Chiang Kaishek's presence in Formosa purports itself to be in exercise of this very declaration to which my hon. Friend the Member for Leyton (Mr. Sorensen) has referred? Is not the real question not whether Formosa belongs to China, but who is China?

Does my right hon. Friend think that the interview given by the Leader of the Opposition yesterday—

—accords closely with the speech of the then Foreign Secretary of December, 1950?

I have no wish to add to the difficulties of the Leader of the Opposition.

On a point of order. Can the Prime Minister merely refer me to an answer given by one of the Leaders of the Opposition rather than to his own answer, which I did not receive?

I understood that the Prime Minister was referring the hon. Gentleman to a statement made in the House.