§ 2.59 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will co-operate with the United States and Soviet Governments in proposing that U Thant be reappointed Secretary-General of the United Nations for a further term of four years in view of his outstanding services as Secretary-General.]
§ LORD BESWICK
My Lords, Her Majesty's Government are wholeheartedly in favour of a further term for U Thant. We believe this view is shared by the other permanent representatives, and—just as important—by the general membership. However, the burdens and cares of the office of Secretary-General of the United Nations are such that it is quite understandable if U Thant should take his time before committing himself to a further term.
§ LORD ROWLEY
My Lords, is not the reluctance of U Thant to accept a further term as Secretary-General due to a deep sense of frustration at the failure of the member States of the United Nations to strengthen its peace-keeping organisation, and, secondly, to the failure of the United Nations to intervene in the conflict which is at present raging in Vietnam? May I ask my noble friend what steps Her Majesty's Government propose to take in co-operation with other Governments to strengthen or make the United Nations Organisation more effective in the carrying out of its responsibilities to maintain world peace, as provided in the Charter of the United Nations itself?
§ LORD BESWICK
My Lords, I think that many of us who heard U Thant speak recently in part of this Palace will realise the great feeling which the Secretary-General has for the future of United Nations, and he would be less than human if he did not have a certain feeling of disappointment that the united Nations has not been able to do more. At the same time, I think that it would be wrong of us to underestimate what has already been achieved. As I am sure my noble friend would agree, the United Nations peace-keeping forces have done remarkable well in different parts of the world. So far as any further initiative by this Government is concerned, I think the time is probably not opportune, but we should certainly support whole-heartedly any promising proposals which may emerge from the special Committee on Peace-keeping, which will be reporting to the general Assembly later this year.
§ LORD CARRINGTON
My Lords, would the noble Lord take note that we on this side of the House would warmly support any measures taken by Her Majesty's Government to secure the retention of U Thant as Secretary-General?