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Volume 641: debated on Friday 5 May 1961

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asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement concerning the progress of the Geneva Conference on Laos.

Since the Conference began on 16th May all delegations present have stated their views on a settlement for Laos and certain proposals have been tabled. All speakers so far have agreed on the need for a unified, independent and neutral Laos but not yet on the means of achieving that neutrality. The Conference has been interrupted by doubts about the efficacy of the ceasefire in Laos. Attempts by the International Control Commission to investigate allegations of numerous infringements of the cease-fire, particularly of Communist attacks against Meo tribesmen incorporated into the Royal Laotian Army, have not so far been successful because of refusal by the Pathet Lao to permit the Commission to function in this way. My noble Friend has been trying to reach agreement with the Soviet Co-Chairman on new instructions to the International Commission which will enable it to carry out its functions but so far without success.

In view of that reply, will the right hon. Gentleman say whether he is prepared to make a further statement to the House and to keep the House informed of further developments?

Yes, I will do so. But I imagine that hon. Members will put down Questions week by week which will give me an opportunity to do so.