§ 63. Mr. Sorensen
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why His Majesty's Government have not yet signed the Genocide Convention adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in December, 1948, particularly as it has already been signed by over 43 States.
§ Mr. Ernest Davies
I would refer my hon. Friend to the full statement on this Question made by my hon. Friend the Minister of State during the Debate on the Adjournment on 18th May. There has been no change in the position since that date.
§ Mr. Sorensen
Does that mean that no progress has been made at all towards the ratification of this very important Convention?
§ Mr. Davies
During the Debate on the Adjournment the difficulties with which we are faced in ratifying this Convention were given to the House, and there has been no change in the position. We are making an official communication to the Secretary-General of the United Nations stating the attitude of His Majesty's Government to the legal issues which are involved.
§ Mr. H. Strauss
Have His Majesty's Government any responsibility for this hopelessly illiterate expression "genocide" and, if not, have they protested against it?
§ Mr. Janner
May I ask my hon. Friend to reconsider this matter? Is he aware that on many occasions we have been informed that the matter was under consideration, that there were legal questions which had to be dealt with, but that they would be given immediate attention? Does he realise that this is an extremely important matter, which ought to be dealt with at once?
§ Mr. Davies
His Majesty's Government are very much aware that this is a matter which ought to be dealt with, but we are not convinced that the actual terms of the Genocide Convention are the best which can be obtained or that they are applicable to our own position in this country. However, some progress has been made in as much as we are communicating with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as I have said, and our opinions will be passed on to the other members of the United Nations for their views.