§ 3.5 p.m.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the first Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are now in a position to report the views of the Secretary-General of the United Nations regarding the regular transmission to the United Nations by the Government of Indonesia of information of an economic, social and educational nature in regard to West Irian as required by Article 73(e) of the Charter of the United Nations.]
§ THE MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO (LORD CARRINGTON)
My Lords, the Secretariat of the United Nations have provided us with a lengthy legal opinion on this issue which I should be happy to send to my noble friend if he would be interested. Briefly, however, it concludes that, in United Nations' practice, it rests, in the first instance, with the administering Power to declare whether a territory it administers is one with respect to which it is under an obligation to transmit information pursuant to Article 73(e) of the Charter. The Secretary-General has not yet informed us of the Indonesian Government's views.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, while thanking my noble friend for his reply, may I ask him whether in fact Article 73 is not quite specific in requiring the actual transmission of such information in the case of territories which have not 1008 attained a full degree of self-government? In fact, has not this been insisted upon again and again in debates in the Fourth Committee in the United Nations? I should like to ask my noble friend: will Her Majesty's Government not be more positive on this whole matter? Did they, for example, instruct our delegation at the General Assembly to raise the issue at the Fourth Committee this year, as I suggested in July last? Here we have ourselves and our friends constantly standing up at the United Nations, being shot at by all and sundry for not observing the spirit or the letter of the Charter, while a leading member of the Afro-Asian bloc, Indonesia, is able to get away with a flagrant violation of its obligations under the Charter.
§ LORD CARRINGTON
My Lords, I do not think that the legal position is quite so clear as my noble friend makes out, and perhaps he would study the document from the Secretary-General, which I will send him. With regard to his second question, of course we have the right to raise this question in the General Assembly, but I doubt at the moment whether such an initiative on our part would command sufficient support, and I think accordingly it would be better at the moment not to pursue this in the General Assembly.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, may I ask the Minister whether he would give this document rather wider circulation by putting a copy of it in the Library for others in the House who are interested? May I also ask him whether it is not a fact that this transfer took place to Indonesia under United Nations auspices, and in these circumstances is it not obligatory upon the United Nations to take more interest than they are doing in the fate of these poor people?
§ LORD CARRINGTON
My Lords, of course this is a question of an interpretation of the United Nations Charter, but I will see that the report of the Secretary-General is put in the Library for your Lordships to study.