asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what consultations he has had with the United States and French Governments regarding possible alternatives to the European Defence Community.
Is the hon. Member aware that the American High Commissioner has announced that he has gone to Washington to discuss possible alternatives to E.D.C? In view of the fact that the chances of France ratifying E.D.C. are now minimal, is it not very important that Her Majesty's Government should be a party to the suggestions which, apparently, are already being discussed between the American and the German sides?
No, Sir. First of all, I do not take such a gloomy view of the ratification prospects as does the hon. Member, who is very partisan in these matters and who hopes that E.D.C. will not go through. Her Majesty's Government, for their part, regard E.D.C. as the best method of getting a German contribution to defence under mutually-agreed conditions between the nations of Western Europe.
Have not the United Kingdom, French and American Governments agreed on the military and political steps to be taken to prevent a German national army being established if E.D.C. gets no further?
That is another question and it raises very important considerations. I would prefer to see it on the Order Paper.
What does the hon. Member mean by saying that he has never seen a proposal for an alternative to E.D.C.? Many alternatives have been put forward in the House, including those put forward by myself.