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European Security (Soviet Note)

Volume 531: debated on Monday 26 July 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what proposals have recently been received from the Soviet Government for further big Power talks.

As the House will be aware, on 24th July the Soviet Government addressed Notes to Her Majesty's Government and to the United States and French Governments, proposing a conference of all European States and the United States of America to consider the Soviet proposals put forward some months ago for collective security in Europe. It is also proposed that the Chinese People's Republic should send an observer to this conference.

Her Majesty's Government will wish to consult the United States and French Governments as well as the other interested Governments, including their partners in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, about the reply to be sent to the Soviet Note.

In a matter of this kind, is it not most desirable that all the allies should consult together before sending a reply? Further, as this is a very long document, would it be the policy of Her Majesty's Government to examine it with great care to see whether there is in it any basis, or something new, on which there could be a "get together"? It has been suggested that this Note is merely a repetition of Berlin, but I hope that the very closest examination will be made of it before it is turned down out of hand.

The right hon. Gentleman can be assured that that is why my answer is so reserved. We want to make the most careful examination of the Soviet proposals. I should prefer not to make any hasty judgment upon it, whatever conclusions may form themselves automatically when one reads some of the paragraphs. I assure the House that we shall consult all our colleagues, particularly the N.A.T.O. Powers, before a reply is sent.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House hope that he will be as successful in this instance as he was at Geneva?