Skip to main content

European Defence Community (France)

Volume 529: debated on Thursday 8 July 1954

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Prime Minister whether, following his discussion with President Eisenhower on South-East Asia and the European Defence Community, he will invite the French Prime Minister to London in order to coordinate British, United States and French policy.


asked the Prime Minister whether he will now invite the French Prime Minister to London to discuss British policy towards the European Defence Community Treaty.

Both before and since the visit of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary to Paris for talks with the French Prime Minister on 20th June, we have maintained the closest contact with the French Government. This contact will, of course, continue. Much though I should welcome a meeting myself with Monsieur Mendès-France, I would not feel justified in pressing him, at the present time, while he has so many urgent problems to occupy him.

While thanking the Prime Minister for that reply, may I ask him whether it might not be for the general convenience if a personal meeting of that kind could be held before 20th July?

The Foreign Secretary will be meeting M. Mendès-France after Monday at Geneva.

Does not the Prime Minister think that, now at last there is a French Government with a Prime Minister who looks like achieving stability—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—it would be better to talk to him about possible variants of the European Defence Community Treaty rather than to issue a communiqué together with President Eisenhower telling him to do something which he says he cannot do and which the French Parliament will not let him do?

That is a matter of opinion which is not included in the Question on the Order Paper.

Will the Prime Minister tell the French Prime Minister that in view of his very gallant part in the R.A.F. during the war he will be a very welcome visitor to London when he can afford the time to come?

No doubt his attention will be drawn to the right hon. Gentleman's very apposite question.