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North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Volume 643: debated on Wednesday 5 July 1961

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asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will instruct the Government's representatives in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to insist that all contingency planning should be based on strict respect for the restrictions on the right to resort to force laid down in the Charter of the United Nations.

The plans and policies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are, as has been repeatedly stated, purely defensive and fully consistent with the United Nations Charter.

Will the right hon. Gentleman give a clear reply to the effect that the Government will not associate themselves with any contingency planning which contemplates resort to force without the authorisation of the Security Council, except as a measure of defence against armed attack? Is he aware that resort to force in any other circumstances would constitute aggression and violation of the Charter? Will he assure the House and the country that the Government's contingency planning does not include aggression and violation of the Charter?

We shall continue to plan for all eventualities and to carry out our obligations under the Charter.

In view of the completely unsatisfactory and, in fact, menacing nature of the right hon. Gentleman's reply, I give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment at the first opportunity.