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Foreign Ministers (Conference)

Volume 643: debated on Wednesday 5 July 1961

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25.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether Her Majesty's Government are now prepared to take a new initiative and propose a conference of Foreign Ministers of the United Kingdom, France, the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to discuss all aspects of the German problem.

We are in the closest consultation with our allies on the many aspects of this question. When we act we shall act in concert with them.

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it would be sensible to start serious negotiations at a fairly high level before the momentum of military preparations on all sides becomes an element in making a successful outcome of these negotiations all the more difficult?

As we have made plain on a number of occasions in the House, and after the breakdown of the Summit Conference last year, the Western Powers are prepared for negotiation, but not under threat.