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Anglo-Soviet Treaty

Volume 526: debated on Wednesday 7 April 1954

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16.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is prepared to invoke Article V of the Anglo-Soviet Treaty of May, 1942, as the basis of talks with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, for our friendly collaboration in the interests of peace and economic prosperity in Europe.

As the House is aware, I twice offered an extension of the Anglo-Soviet Treaty at Berlin, but Mr. Molotov replied that he was unable to understand how we could give such an assurance while we remain a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. In view of this attitude, there seems no useful purpose in my attempting to do what the hon. Member suggests.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there might have been some justification in the query of the U.S.S.R. because Article VI of the Treaty of 26th May, 1942, said that we would not enter into any collaboration against the U.S.S.R.? Further, as both Molotov and Eisenhower have said that there was no question which could not be solved by peaceful means, could not the right hon. Gentleman use this Treaty bilaterally as an approach?

We have not joined in any combination against the U.S.S.R. As the whole House feels—this was many times discussed—the North Atlantic Treaty was a defensive arrangement forced upon the late Government by the policies which were being pursued by Soviet Russia.

It says that there are two principles which we must both observe. One is, not seeking territorial aggrandisement, and the other is, not interfering with the internal affairs of other States.