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Coal Production (Conference)

Volume 441: debated on Monday 28 July 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Deputy Military Governor in Germany asked for instructions from his Department before accepting the invitation of the U.S. Government to attend a conference in Washington on the output of the Ruhr; and what instructions were given to him.

His Majesty's Government have accepted in principle an invitation from the United States Government to a discussion of tcehnical questions concerning coal production in Germany. The invitation was addressed to His Majesty's Government, and not to the Deputy Military Governor. The discussions wil be carried out by officials. The exact agenda is under discussion.

Is my hon. Friend aware that before His Majesty's Government issued a statement about this conference, and when there was some doubt whether it would be held, a statement was issued from Berlin saying that General Robertson would attend?

I do not think that, "statement," is the right description. There was an inaccurate leak.

Can my hon. Friend say how an invitation to a discussion can be accepted "in principle"?

It is possible to agree to discuss, before agreeing to what exactly is to be discussed.