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Anglo-American Talks

Volume 529: debated on Wednesday 7 July 1954

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asked the Prime Minister at what level it is proposed to continue political consultations with the United States of America on future relations with South-East Asia, on the future of the European Defence Community and on atomic energy co-operation.

I have been asked to reply.

Ministerial consultations regarding Indo-China may be resumed at Geneva shortly.

A working group on South-East Asia composed of British and United States officials has been set up in Washington to study in detail particular problems arising from the Washington conversations. It will report to the two Governments.

As regards European questions, a working group of officials has been set up in London to consider the implications of the Washington Statement in respect of Europe. The group will be mainly concerned with the international status of the German Federal Republic, and is working on the assumption that the German contribution to Western Defence will be made through the European Defence Community.

On atomic energy co-operation, no working group has been set up. This matter will be dealt with through normal diplomatic channels.

Can my right hon. Friend say whether it is proposed that the political consultations should cover economic matters?

Not in the first instance. The immediate task is to deal with matters of a military and political character.

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether it is proposed to restrict the study groups mainly to the officials of the two Governments mentioned, or is it intended to include the representatives of other Governments interested in this project?

With regard to the European aspect, the French Government were informed in advance of this study group and will be informed of its conclusions, which I hope will be speedily reached, probably this week. The right hon. and learned Gentleman will know from his experience that this study group is entirely without committing the Government, and the other Governments will be informed. The same procedure will be followed in the case of South-East Asia, although conditions are slightly different. Several countries are concerned at about an equal level of significance.

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us if he himself proposes to return to Geneva?

The Foreign Secretary is hardly master of his own movements. As far as I understand it, there is a fresh gathering about to take place in Geneva and, as I assured the House before, if there is any service I can render I will go to it.

In view of the fact that France is the country in the West most directly affected by any granting of sovereignty to Western Germany, is it not shocking that that country should have been left out of these discussions and that Britain and the United States should, in effect, join with Dr. Adenauer in dragooning and blackmailing them into ratifying E.D.C.?

If the hon. Gentleman will allow me to say so, his statement is a travesty of what has been done. There is no question, of course, of Dr. Adenauer or the German Federal Government being brought into this study group. It is an Anglo-American study group arising out of Anglo-American discussions, and I was careful to explain that the French Government were informed in advance of its setting-up.

They are being informed, and if the hon. Gentleman had taken the trouble to study what the French Prime Minister said only last week he would have seen that the Prime Minister said it was his intention first to tackle the Indo-China question and the E.D.C. question later. I cannot believe that our French friends have so little confidence in us that they would mind us having a study group, the work of which they were told about before, the results of which they will be told about afterwards and the outcome of which we shall work out together.


asked the Prime Minister if he will give a list of the former sovereign States who are now enslaved, referred to in the joint declaration made after his meeting with President Eisenhower.

When President Eisenhower and I drew up our statement we were very conscious that some nations would be offended by being included in a list, and some by being excluded. There was a maxim which I was taught, when I was a young officer some years ago, which occurs to me now: "No names, no pack drill."

Does the Prime Minister really think it desirable to leave the world indefinitely in an unsettled state by refusing to recognise certain realities which emerged from the post-war world? Does he not think that to leave the list of countries unspecified makes it even worse and contributes to even greater unsettlement? Does the declaration mean, for example, that this country could not enter into a treaty with the Soviet Union because the United States refuses to recognise the incorporation of the Baltic States into that country?

I think that illustrates how undesirable it is to state a list of names and for two countries meeting together, as we did, in discussion to do more than express a general opinion and not deliberately pick and choose who are in and who are out of a particular list.

Can the Prime Minister assure the House that in fact this rather vague phrase represents a real agreement between the United States and ourselves as to what is meant by it? Can the right hon. Gentleman assure us that this is not going to be another occasion in which, through using a very loose formula, we find the United States giving one interpretation and the British Government another?

I do not think so. We are both so firmly based on fundamental principles.

Would not the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Warbey) benefit from a study group?

Is the Prime Minister aware that there are some hon. Members who look at the present fate of the Czech people, the Poles and the Hungarians as typical examples covered by this declaration?

May I ask the Prime Minister, whom we are all very glad to see back again with the Foreign Secretary, when he will be able to make any statement to this House on the result of his talks in Washington and Ottawa?

I have been asked to reply. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister intends to make a statement on this subject on Monday.