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President Eisenhower

Volume 526: debated on Tuesday 6 April 1954

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49.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will extend an invitation to President Eisenhower to visit this country for the purpose of discussing with him present international difficulties and, in particular, matters connected with the hydrogen bomb, and of resolving any differences of opinion that may stand in the way of a subsequent approach to President Malenkov for the calling of Big Four talks on the present international situation.

It goes without saying that we should be delighted to welcome President Eisenhower in this country, where we knew him so well during the war. I have more than once expressed my hopes that such a visit would be possible. I do not, however, think it likely that he would feel that he could leave his heavy duties at the present time. The visit of a head of State, I must remind the House, is a matter of the highest consequence.

While thanking the Prime Minister for that reply, the sentiment of which we all share, may I ask him whether he will, as soon as he feels that a convenient opportunity presents itself, extend an invitation to President Eisenhower?

We shall certainly take whatever measures we think best, but I am not sure that, with the question in the controversial position it is now, it would be the best thing to extend an invitation at this moment. I have already more than once expressed to President Eisenhower the great satisfaction which it would give the whole of this country if he could pay us a visit, but he has been in office only for a year and the opportunity has not occurred.