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West New Guinea

Volume 654: debated on Wednesday 21 February 1962

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19.

asked the Lord Privy Seal, in view of the fact that resolution 368 failed at the United Nations to get a two-thirds majority vote, what action is now being taken by the United Nations to help in getting a peaceful settlement of the dispute between the Netherlands and Indonesia with regard to West New Guinea.

I understand that the Acting Secretary-General of the United Nations has been trying to persuade the parties to agree on a basis for direct negotiations.

In view of our trade connections with Indonesia right from the time of Sir Stamford Raffles, and later in 1945–46, and the fact that the geographical position of these islands is important to us and we have the N.A.T.O. agreement with Holland, can my right hon. Friend see whether we can help in negotiations between the two territories?

As the House realises, we have associations both with the Netherlands through N.A.T.O. and with Indonesia through other connections. I think that it would be better to leave it in the hands of the Acting Secretary-General of the United Nations who has taken this initiative and is having discussions with both sides. We are aware of what is going on.