asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when the name of the new Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is likely to be announced; and whether he will exert the influence of Her Majesty's Government to make sure that there is no premature announcement of any candidate who has not yet accepted the offer.
I hope it will be possible to make an announcement within the next few days. I will certainly do what I can to ensure that no premature announcement is made.
While thanking my hon. Friend for that answer, may I ask him to bear in mind that it will be a handicap to whatever distinguished person accepts this post if the impression is given that the post has been hawked round the world before it was offered to him?
I will bear it in mind. I would point out that the leakage which took place about Sir Oliver Franks was not from any British source.
Are we to understand that the announcement which the hon. Gentleman proposes to make will be final, that somebody has been actually appointed?
That was the purpose of my answer.