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Commons Chamber

Volume 645: debated on Monday 2 October 1961

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House Of Commons

Wednesday, 2nd August, 1961

The House met at half-past Two o'clock


[Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair]

Private Business

Devon County Council Bill Lords

As amended, considered; An Amendment made to the Bill.

Standing Order 205 (Notice of Third Reading) suspended.—[ The Chairman of Ways and Means]—[ Queen's Consent, on behalf of the Crown and the Duchy of Cornwall signified.]

Bill read the Third time and passed, with Amendments.

Newport Corporation Bill

Standing Order 208 (Notice of consideration of Lords Amendments) suspended; Lords Amendments to be considered forthwith.—[ The Chairman of Ways and Means.]

Lords Amendments considered accordingly and agreed to.

River Ravensbourne, &C, (Improvement And Flood Revention) Bill

Standing Order 208 (Notice of consideration of Lords Amendments) suspended; Lords Amendments to be considered forthwith.—[ The Chairman of Ways and Means.]

Lords Amendments considered accordingly and agreed to.

Oral Answers To Questions

Royal Air Force

Sovereign Base Areas, Cyprus (Private Trading)


asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he will make a statement about the extent of the preferential arrangements granted to Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes as against private firms operating in the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus.

Within military stations and cantonments, it is the policy of the Services, in Cyprus as elsewhere, to permit private trading only to the extent that the facilities provided by N.A.A.F.I. need to be supplemented. Elsewhere in the Sovereign Base Areas private trading is permitted either where there is a military requirement for it or, if there is no military requirement, where the authorities of the Republic raise no objection under Appendix "O" to the Treaty. In addition, N.A.A.F.I. is, of course, permitted to import goods free of duty for sale to members of the forces to the extent provided in the Treaty.

While a N.A.A.F.I. monopoly in the military establishment is obviously justified, does not the Minister agree that to extend the monopoly to the whole of the base area is grossly unfair to both British and Cypriot traders who used to deal with all these families before Cyprus became a republic? Will he confirm that N.A.A.F.I. is not opening shops in the Republic itself?

I think that my hon. Friend did not quite catch what I said. Outside the cantonments but in the Sovereign Base Areas private trading is permitted in two sectors, either where there is a military requirement for it or where the authorities of the Republic raise no objection when there is no military requirement. In accordance with the provisions of the Treaty, there are certain N.A.A.F.I. establishments outside the base areas. As my hon. Friend knows, we have certain retained sites within the Republic.

As so many of the families live outside the base areas, is it not for their convenience to have N.A.A.F.I. shops, for example, in Nicosia?

Yes. I think that they do benefit where there are retained sites outside. Where they live outside it is a great help to have N.A.A.F.I.

Does not my right hon. Friend's reply indicate that N.A.A.F.I. still has a veto, even though not a complete monopoly, in the base areas? Is it not a fact that many of these so-called private enterprise shops and kiosks which operate in the base areas are licensed by N.A.A.F.I.

I do not think that N.A.A.F.I. has a veto. It is in the hands of the Service commanders to decide whether there should be private trading either within the cantonments or outside them; that is, where there is no military requirement, where the Services are indifferent, the decision remains with the republican authorities in accordance with Appendix O of the Treaty.

Queen's Colour Squadron


asked the Secretary of State for Air what was the cost during the last financial year of the Royal Air Force Queen's Colour Squadron; and how many funerals, guards of honour, drill demonstrations and other ceremonies, respectively, it took part in during that period.

In the last financial year the Queen's Colour Squadron cost about £80,000 and had 112 engagements. These included 11 funerals, 27 guards of honour, 35 drill demonstrations and 39 other ceremonies.

In view of the cuts that the Government are making in much more desirable social expenditure, will the right hon. Gentleman consider cutting very drastically the expenditure on this unit? Can he continue to justify as his predecessors have done over the last two years, over 100 fit men attending funerals and as guards of honour when cuts are being made in much more essential social services?

Yes, Sir. I am satisfied that the Queen's Colour Squadron performs an extremely valuable task in the functions of the Royal Air Force. The hon. Gentleman should bear in mind that a good deal of ceremony inevitably attaches to military life. If there were not a Queen's Colour Squadron the burden which it carries would fall on the individual Commands which would have to use time for training at the expense of other duties.

While agreeing that some ceremonies are a necessary part of military life, may I ask the Secretary of State whether he is sure that the men and money involved here are being put to the best use? Will he not have another look at the whole of this problem?

I have investigated this matter before and I investigated it again, when the hon. Gentleman tabled the Question. I am satisfied that this is the most economical way of meeting ceremonial commitments from the point of view of the useful deployment of men in the Royal Air Force.



asked the Secretary of State for Air what steps he is taking to overcome the shortage of trained aircrew in the Royal Air Force.

We are not at present short of trained aircrew. But we could face a serious shortage within a few years if recruiting does not improve. We have accordingly introduced more attractive terms for direct entry officers. We have extended publicity. We are improving our school liaison arrangements and providing more opportunities for headmasters and careers masters to visit Royal Air Force units. We are also trying to make our selection methods better and to cut down training wastage. There has been some improvement in recruiting in recent months, but it is still too early to say whether this will be maintained.

Is it not the case that enrolments in the initial training schools are declining? Are they declining because there is a widespread feeling that the trainees are getting their air experience too late? Would the right hon. Gentleman look into that aspect of the problem?

As I have said, there has been some improvement in recent months, but I agree with the hon. Gentleman that it is very important to introduce air experience into the flying training of young men as early as possible.

Can the Secretary of State say whether he has anxieties about reaching the target of the Royal Air Force by 1st January, 1963, in view of what he has just said?

The Question is directed to aircrew. The numbers concerned in aircrew are small and we shall not be short of aircrew art the end of this year. The shortage is not now in aircrew but in the intake, and this could have serious repercussions later.

Flying Scholarships


asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he has any plans for widening the basis on which flying scholarships are awarded.

In addition to the 350 flying scholarships now awarded to members of the Air Cadet organisations we plan to make available 100 flying scholarships a year to boys who are attending schools at which there is no unit of the Air Training Corps or Royal Air Force Section of the Combined Cadet Force. Candidates for these scholarships will have to pass the same medical, educational and other tests as volunteers for aircrew. With permission, I will circulate further details of this scheme in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that Answer, which I think is most encouraging. Will this new scheme in any way prejudice the existing scheme under which flying scholarships are awarded to members of the Air Cadet organisation?

No, Sir. I am glad that my hon. Friend has asked that question. The new scheme is independent of and additional to the existing one.

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that boys in the Air Cadet organisation who are really interested will carry on?

The object of this scheme is to catch boys in those schools where there is not a unit of the Air Training Corps or a Royal Air Force section of the Combined Cadet Force. There are schools which have not either of those facilities, and we think that there might well be boys in them who would like to join the Royal Air Force.

Following are the details:

It has been decided that 100 flying scholarships, similar to those at present awarded to members of the A.T.C. and the R.A.F. Section of the Combined Cadet Force, should be made available under certain conditions to boys who do not belong to either of those organisations. Each scholarship will entitle the holder to free tuition in flying up to the standard of the Pilot's "A" licence at a civil flying club. Tuition will not begin until the pupil is 17.
This new venture will not prejudice in any way the present scheme for the award of flying scholarships to members of the Air Cadet organisations. The number of scholarships available under this latter scheme is very much larger—it is at present 350—and boys who belong to Air Cadet organisations will consequently continue to have a very much better chance of obtaining an award than those who do not. Very broadly, the conditions which will require to be satisfied before an award can be made under the new scheme include the following:
  • (a) A candidate should be attending a school at which there is no unit of the Air Training Corps or R.A.F. Section of the Combined Cadet Force.
  • (b) He should be genuinely interested in the possibility of joining the R.A.F.
  • (c) He should have passed the medical, educational and other tests which are applied to volunteers for aircrew duties.
  • The new scheme is still being worked out in detail.

    Mirage Iv Aircraft


    asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will consider the purchase from Sud Aviation of a number of Mirage IV aircraft for service in the Royal Air Force.

    We have, of course, considered the Mirage IV project, but have 'concluded that there is no need for us to buy it.

    Tsr2 Aircraft


    asked the Secretary of State for Air what consultations he has had with the Minister of Aviation with a view to expediting the entry of the TSR2 aircraft into squadron service in the Royal Air Force.


    asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will take steps to expedite delivery of the TSR2 aircraft.

    Questions on development are, of course, for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation, but I am in close touch with him about the progress of work on the TSR2.

    We and the firm are naturally doing all we can to bring this very advanced aircraft into service as soon as possible.

    Bearing in mind that the V-bomber force will be obsolete in the next two or three years, will the right hon. Gentleman give the House an assurance that the bringing into service of the TSR2 is regarded as a matter of urgency?

    As I reject the assumption on which the hon. Gentleman bases his supplementary question, I should not like anything that I say to appear to give credence to the views which he seems to hold on this matter. However, we shall do everything we can to introduce the TSR2 as soon as possible, but it is not related to the V-force, and, indeed, is not regarded as either a substitute for a V-bomber or a supplement to the V-force.

    Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that it is about four years since we first heard about this aircraft in the Air Estimates? Will he either not talk about the aircraft or deliver it to the Royal Air Force? While we recognise that he has only part responsibility in this matter, is it not the case that often the Royal Air Force's change of mind about requirements is a factor in the delay in getting aircraft into service?

    With respect, I think that the hon. Gentleman misunderstands the position. The development of a modern aircraft takes anything from seven to ten years. Unless we can give the House some information on early trends in our thinking—and, as I say, it takes from seven to ten years before we can get the final result into service—we cannot be in a position to give hon. Members the information which they ought to have on which to base their judgments. I do not think that we should be taken to task because we have been talking about this aircraft for four years.

    The right hon. Gentleman was not in his present job then, but does he recall that when we began to argue about this aircraft it was said that it was better to go for it than to try to stretch the Blackburn Buccaneer to suit an R.A.F. rôle? It was then said that the TSR2 would be available in service in 1964. Is the right hon. Gentleman now saying that there is no chance of that?

    I am not saying anything about delivery dates on this subject. All that I have said is that we regard this aircraft as a good aircraft, that we shall press on with plans for its introduction and that we think that it is progressing satisfactorily.

    Is it not the case that the French already have in production the Mystere IV, which has a very similar performance to that of the TSR2?

    We think that the TSR2 is the only aircraft which will exactly fit our requirement in the time scale that we are considering.

    Transport Aircraft


    asked the Secretary of State for Air how many Belfast transport aircraft he expects to have in service in 1964.

    I am not prepared to forecast the detailed phasing of deliveries so far ahead.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the considerable disquiet which is felt about the introduction of the Belfast aircraft? Is it not the case that there have been second thoughts and that a larger form of Belfast aircraft is to be introduced in 1965 and 1966?

    Bearing in mind that aft present we have no strategic transport aircraft of real efficiency, is this not a serious situation, and will the Secretary of State give it careful consideration?

    The hon. Member is once again making a false assumption. It is quite untrue to say that we have no good freighter aircraft. We have some extremely good freighter aircraft, as the Kuwait operation proved the other day.

    Is my right hon. Friend aware that a number of his colleagues two or three years ago gave delivery dates which, it is now obvious, will not be fulfilled for various technical reasons? As there may be a gap of at least five years before Britain has this type of heavy aircraft, even with the dumping of supplies in different paints of the Commonwealth, will my right hon. Friend consider the matter to see whether we cannot borrow from the Americans at peppercorn rent suitable aircraft to see us through what must be difficult months and years ahead?

    According to my information, there is no aircraft that we could borrow in the time scale that would fill the bill far which the Belfast is required. I should also point out that the Bill for which it is required—that is to say, the freight which it is expected to carry—will also not be in general service for some time. [Interruption.] Although the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) may consider this a cause for jest and laughter, it seems to me that it is an example of good planning, upon which hon. Members opposite so often pride themselves.

    Does the Secretary of State claim that it is good planning to have neither the things to carry nor the things with which to carry them?

    Good planning is to match the equipment and the aircraft at the appropriate time.


    asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will state all the types of aircraft available as strategic freighters and the maximum weight and size of equipment each can carry; what are his total requirements for future strategic freighter aircraft; and what steps he is taking to meet these.

    The Britannia, which has a door size of about 6ft. by 7ft., will carry 15 tons for 2,000 miles. The Hastings and the Beverley—and in future the Argosy—offer some freighting capability over the same range of between 2 and 4 tons. We shall later on need to be able to move bulkier loads too expensive to stockpile and for these we have ordered the Belfast. As I have said, the Belfast will be in service by the time these requirements arise.

    Does the Secretary of State claim that an aircraft that takes freight only through a door is really a freighter? Secondly, while one appreciates the right hon. Gentleman's concern in the distant future to have aircraft to match the equipment then coming forward, would it not be a good idea to have some strategic freighter capacity to move the equipment in the event of its being called upon to be moved within the next five years?

    We moved armoured cars to Kuwait. I would have thought that that showed that we had a freighter which worked.

    Ministry Of Defence

    Defence Expenditure


    asked the Minister of Defence what specific proposals he is considering for the reduction of defence expenditure; and to what extent they affect the nuclear weapons programme.


    asked the Minister of Defence the approximate reduction in defence expenditure he now proposes to make.

    The Minister of Defence (Mr. Harold Watkinson) : As my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer told the House on 25th July, I have put in hand a review of the defence programme to see what can be done to save expenditure, especially overseas expenditure. I have no statement to make about this at present.

    Is it not increasingly obvious that, in spite of collossal expenditure over the last few years, the Government are neither keeping pace in the nuclear arms race nor maintaining efficient conventional forces? Will the Minister therefore ensure that his review is a drastic reappraisal of the whole policy in order to produce a defence policy which the country can afford and believe in?

    The correct answer is to say that I do not agree with any of the bases of the hon. Member's supplementary question, so I find difficulty in answering.

    Is it not a fact that other Ministers have already announced serious cuts in housing, education and health? Is arms expenditure to be sacrosanct? Does the Minister remember that only recently, in the spring, he increased our arms expenditure by £40 million to the fantastic total of £1,660 million, or one-third of all Government expenditure? Would it not solve all our other problems if we could have a substantial cut here which would make war less likely, and not more likely, because it would reduce international tension?

    Perhaps when some other nations are willing to make major cuts in their armaments programme we will follow suit.

    Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that, however fantastic the present figure may be, many of us feel that there is a case for increasing rather than reducing defence expenditure in order properly to preserve the peace?

    asked the Minister of Defence if, in view of the Changing nature of defence problems and the reductions now proposed by Her Majesty's Government in defence expenditure, he will issue a revised edition of the Defence White Papr.

    Does the Minister recollect that when the Defence White Paper was debated in this House he argued that this was the minimum amount of money necessary for defence and that now the Chancellor of the Exchequer has issued a directive saying that it is necessary to out overseas military spending? Can the Minister say who is speaking for the Government? Which is the Government's point of view? Is the Minister speaking for the Government in this matter of policy, or is the Chancellor of the Exdhequer?

    The hon. Gentleman should refer to paragraph 12 of the White Paper which, he will see, solves his dilemma for him.



    asked the Minister of Defence if he will make a further statement on Kuwait.

    Yes, Sir. As the House knows, withdrawals of forces from Kuwait began early in July and continued during the month. I circulated a list of the major units involved in reply to a Question last Wednesday by my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro). We are, of course, anxious to withdraw more as soon as the situation allows. I hope that it will be possible to begin more rotations soon.

    I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his statement. Can he say whether we have any up-to-date news about the three men who, unhappily, got lost? Having given the information of the withdrawal of major units, can the Minister confirm the figures that were extensively publicised last weekend that the total force left in Kuwait is now down to about 2,000 or 2,300 men? Thirdly, can he toil us something about the conditions of the men remaining there? Have the Kuwaiti authorities now agreed, for example, to open the schools, which are empty, so that our men can have the shelter that they would provide?

    Concerning the three men, I am afraid that I have nothing to add to the full statement made by my noble Friend the Foreign Secretary, which indicated that as far as we know they have been well treated and looked after. We are trying to make contact with them and to see that they are released as soon as possible. I know that the right hon. Gentleman does not want me to give a precise figure of the troops now in Kuwait. I can, however, say that they have been very largely reduced and, probably, more than halved from the original force that was there. I have had a further report on the welfare of the men. I understand from the Commander-in-Chief that all his needs are being met and that he is satisfied, from the point of view of amenities, medical care and all the rest that he has everything he needs to look after them properly.

    British Forces, Germany


    asked the Minister of Defence what action he is taking to bring the British forces in Germany up to establishment.

    Final decisions as to the reinforcement of British forces in Germany will not be taken until after the Foreign Ministers' meeting early in August. At this meeting we shall hope to concert plans with our Allies on the steps to be taken to strengthen the N.A.T.O. Alliance.

    In view of all the conflicting reports about the use of Territorials and Special Reservists, can the Minister confirm that these measures are no substitute for political action, which is the only way to settle this problem? Can he say whether we shall be diminishing the strength of our Strategic Reserve by using these men?

    There are many supplementary questions there. Perhaps I may answer by saying this. As the hon. Gentleman will see from my Answer, the detailed plans about how the N.A.T.O. allies may be strengthened must, in our view, await the meeting of the Foreign Secretaries. Naturally, in the meantime, we are looking over the possibilities. We have asked General Cassells to examine the strength of his forces and see what reasonable reinforcements he should receive and to take all the necessary preliminary steps. What I want to make plain is that the Government are not committed to any firm and decisive action until after the Foreign Secretaries have looked at the political situation.

    Is it not a fact nevertheless that the Rhine Army is so many thousands of men under establishment that in order to bring it up to full establishment some, at least, of the Reserve will have to be called up?

    No. I do not necessarily agree with the hon. Member's view. As I have said before, what steps we shall take in this way are not likely to be announced until after the Foreign Secretaries have met.

    Civil Defence


    asked the Minister of Defence, in view of paragraphs 39 to 42 of the Defence White Paper, to what extent he discussed developments in civil defence with the United States Minister of Defence during the latter's recent visit: and what changes he proposes.

    Is it not rather extraordinary that no question of defending the civil population should have been discussed between Mr. McNamara and the Minister? Is he aware that today's papers carry a statement by Mr. McNamara that 50 million people might be killed if an H-bomb were to hit the U.S.A. and that 10 million people could be saved by deep shelters and a defence policy based on that? Are we to assume, then, that the United States Government think these are essentials and what Mr. Kennedy says are the minimum for survival, but that our Government are doing nothing about it?

    On the contrary, earlier this year in the defence debate a considerable increase in expenditure on civil defence was announced.

    Does the right hon. Gentleman still stand by statements by himself and all his predecessors in that office that in the event of nuclear war the civil population of this country could not be defended at all? Is that still true?

    The general proposition that there is not yet satisfactory defence against the missile remains, and, therefore, if the missile is carrying a nuclear warhead, there is no means of stopping its arrival. However, of course, certain measures could be taken to minimise loss of life and casualties. Those steps are being taken, apparently, in the U.S.A., and will be taken here.

    South Africa


    asked the Minister of Defence whether a settlement has now been reached with the South African Government as to future defence arrangements; and if he will make a statement.

    I have nothing to add at present to the reply I made on 19th July to the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway).

    Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that he will make a full statement when these defence talks are concluded? Would he consider very carefully, apart from general defence matters, that there should be no question of sending to the Republic of South Africa small arms which might be used in the imposition of the racial policy of apartheid?

    As the hon Gentleman knows, defence talks are only a relatively small part of the very complicated talks on the new status of South Africa. These are still going on. I imagine that a statement will be made on them when they are concluded, which will take account of any defence interests.

    Yes, but cannot the right hon. Gentleman answer the latter part of my hon. Friend's Supplementary question? In view of repeated statements by two Ministers of Defence in South Africa, would the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that no small arms are going to be supplied to that country for the purpose, for example, of repressing a revolt, if such should start?

    I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman knows, for this answer has been given a good many times in this House recently, that we do not announce in this House either for or against sales of any particular types of arms to another country.

    Does the right hon. Gentleman recognise no difference, then, between the supply, for example, of naval vessels, and of small arms, the purpose of which we know very well in this country?


    Motor Cyclists (Training Scheme)


    asked the Minister of Transport if he will now make a statement on the expansion of the Royal Automobile Club and the Auto-Cycle Union scheme to train learner motorcyclists and scooter riders through tuition arrangements at motor-cycle clubs; and what will be the increased Government grants for this purpose.

    I am in touch with the Royal Automobile Club about an expansion of this most valuable scheme, but I am not at the moment in a position to make any further statement.

    While welcoming that statement from the Minister, may I ask whether he is aware, first, that the rate of accidents of motor cyclists during their first six months is equal to that during the next two years of their experience, and that it is tremendously important from the point of view of saving life that these experiments should be expedited? Will he resist any effort by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to reduce expenditure upon this necessary activity?

    I am quite well aware that it is necessary to save as many lives as possible, and the motor cyclist is in an extremely vulnerable position. This scheme of the R.A.C. has done a great deal of good. They submitted some pro-proposals to me, and I in my turn have submitted some proposals to them of a rather different nature. We are now considering all these.

    British Transport Commission


    asked the Minister of Transport if he will give a general direction to the British Transport Commission that it should deal with all complaints when informed that unsatisfactory replies have been received from the regions.

    No, Sir. This is a matter of administration for the British Transport Commission to decide.

    Is the Minister not aware that several Members of Parliament have received very discourteous replies from Dr. Beeching when they have put complaints to him? Is he aware that I have been told by Dr. Beeching that he has no time to deal with complaints and will I not trouble him further? Would it not be a good idea if the right hon. Gentleman told Dr. Beeching that one of the points of a public service is that it should serve the public?

    I read part of a letter which Dr. Beeching sent to the hon. Member in The People on the same day that I read an article by the hon. Member. I read both most carefully. I believe that Dr. Beeching probably wants to delegate individual complaints so that he can concentrate on major policy. The larger the business the more important is the excellent principle of delegation.

    While not being aware of the correspondence between my hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield, East (Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu) and Dr. Beeching, may I ask whether it is not the fact that in the past, under Sir Brian Robertson, the relationship between Members and the Chairman of the Commission have been extremely good and every courtesy has been extended to Members of the House? Will the right hon. Gentleman look into the matter and ensure that the same tradition will continue under Dr. Beeching?

    I am sure that Dr. Beeching will be courteous, but at the same time it is usual in major tasks to delegate questions of individual complaints. I think that that is a matter for Dr. Beeching's judgment.

    Is it not true that the Foreign Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer who have a large amount of work to do delegate functions but at the same time have time to answer Members?

    That may be the case, but Dr. Beeching has taken over a large administration employing well over half a million people and this is a matter for him.

    Direction Indicators


    asked the Minister of Transport with which countries discussions are taking place to reach international agreement on a suitable and practicable range of intensities for traffic direction indicator lights; by whom such discussions were initiated; when they began; and whether any steps have been taken, in consultation with the manufacturers' and users' organisations, to formulate a standard acceptable to the United Kingdom Government.

    An international working party has since February, 1960, been investigating the intensities suitable for direction indicators by day and by night; it consists of technical experts from the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and most Western European countries. Agreed recommendations were reached in April last which will in due course be submitted to the appropriate Committee of the Economic Commission for Europe. I propose to await the outcome of consideration by the Commission before deciding what standard of light intensity should be adopted in the United Kingdom.

    Is it really necessary to await this international agreement, which is taking such a very long time, about a matter which requires urgent action to deal with it at home?

    I think that any regulations about the intensity of light ought to be international in standard because of the way motor cars interchange and go through all the European countries nowadays.

    Can my right hon. Friend tell us how many reports he is awaiting from various committees before the House goes into Recess? It is very important to know how many reports we shall be likely to be getting before long.


    asked the Minister of Transport if she will state the number of accidents during the past two years attributable to the unnecessary brilliance of traffic direction indicator lights; and whether the problem has been the subject of investigation at the Road Research Laboratory.

    No figures are available of the number of accidents attributable to the cause mentioned by my hon. Friend. Representatives of the Road Research Laboratory have been taking an active part in international discussions aimed at producing acceptable intensity levels both by day and by night.

    Would my right hon. Friend agree that it is common knowledge that in many cases direction indicators are far too bright and that they not only cause a lot of inconvenience but can very easily lead to accidents?

    Yes, Sir. It is for that reason that the matter is being studied. The real problem is to get an unmistakable signal in bright sunlight and at the same time avoid dazzle at night.

    Driving Licences


    asked the Minister of Transport if he will introduce a system of graduated driving licences which would have regard to the speed and power of the vehicle.

    My hon. Friend's proposal would require legislation, but I am keeping it under review.

    Is my right hon. Friend aware that many people will hope very much that he will give this very sensible idea clue and careful consideration, particularly as it originated in a supplementary answer which he gave to me?

    I am certainly attracted by the idea. I was very disappointed when I found that there was no statutory power for me to do anything about it.

    Car Rallies


    asked the Minister of Transport if he will take powers to control car rallies in the interest of public safety and amenity.


    asked the Minister of Transport in view of the inconvenience caused to local residents, if he will take powers to regulate motor rallies organised to take place during weekends and the hours of darkness.

    I am satisfied that, so far as safety is concerned, the provisions of the Road Traffic Act are already sufficient. I recognise that there may be an amenity problem, and I am considering whether any additional controls are desirable or possible.

    Will my right hon. Friend do something about it? Is he aware that there is a club in the Thames estuary which has had a rally through the north of Essex in July each year for three consecutive years despite complaints from the chief constable? Is he also aware that there is a growing number of complaints about this matter?

    If my hon. Friend will send me details I will consult the police to see whether we can get rid of the disturbance.

    Vehicle Tests


    asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that, in Leicestershire and elsewhere, certificates have recently been given for cars more than 10 years old, which are unsafe for use; and what steps he proposes to take in order to ensure that a more efficient test shall be applied before certificates are granted.

    Four cases of this kind in the Leicester area have been reported to my officers and have been thoroughly investigated; for the country as a whole the total is negligible in relation to the number of vehicles tested. Borderline cases are bound to occur, but the safeguards embodied in the scheme have proved themselves adequate to secure a very high degree of efficiency and uniformity.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that an inspector has stated categorically that cars have been passed when their lights, brakes and steering have been efficient even though their chassis have been so rotten as to make the cars completely unsafe? Does he propose to do something definite to make it clear to garages that they must not pass cars of that description?

    In that case, which occurred in the Leicester area, we made that clear to the garage concerned.

    Has the right hon. Gentleman read the authoritative article in The Times last week in which it was pointed out that a car was turned down by four garages, all for different reasons, and passed by a fifth, which indicates that the examination by the testing garages at the moment is wholly inadequate? What steps is he taking to deal with the matter?

    Every single complaint that comes in is investigated. The difficulty about newspaper reports is that details are so vague that they are not enough to permit the carrying out of any investigations.


    Hammersmith Flyover (Car Parking)


    asked the Minister of Transport to what extent the space under the Hammersmith flyover will be used as a car park in order to relieve local parking congestion and to encourage visitors to London to leave their cars at Hammersmith and use the underground railway into central London.

    I have no power to provide permanent facilities for oft-street car parking. I understand, however, that the local authority have plans for a car park to hold about 60 cars under the Hammersmith Flyover south of St. Paul's Church. They are considering whether any other areas would be suitable for that purpose, but the number of roads passing beneath the flyover severely limits the space available.

    Is my right hon. Friend aware that under this Hammer. smith Ridgeway there really is a lot of space which is suitable for car parking and that it would be an ideal place—if he could persuade the local authority—for an experiment to get motorists to leave their cars there when coming into London?

    I will draw the attention of Hammersmith Borough Council to my hon. Friend's remarks.

    Pity Me, Durham (By-Pass)


    asked the Minister of Transport why the Pity Me by-pass on the A.1 road in Durham has not been constructed with a double carriageway.

    This by-pass is on the section of A.1 which will be replaced as a principal through route to the North by the Durham motorway. A three lane carriageway should be adequate for the traffic when the motorway is in use.

    Would it not have been much better when he was building this road to have made it a double carriageway? Is it not the only part of A.1 built in recent years which is not a double carriageway and will it not be many years before the Durham motorway, apart from the Durham by-pass, is constructed?

    No, I think this motorway when constructed will be adequate. It would have been folly to have put a motorway down and to have spent money on it when it was not needed, and I am sure that the Durham by-pass and motorway will draw the main traffic now using this road.

    asked the Minister of Transport why he was unable to accept the Durham Council's invitation to perform the opening ceremony of the Pity Me by-pass.

    While recognising the importance of this scheme, I regret that the many demands on my time prevented me from accepting the county council's invitation.

    May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that, while not discrediting the person who actually performed the ceremony and indeed paying a tribute to him because the visit was very well received, there is still a wide expression of opinion in Durham that either the right hon. Gentleman or his Parliamentary Secretary should have accepted this invitation? Is he also aware that this is not only because there is a general feeling about his not coming but because there is a feeling that he was rather mean in making this a three-lane carriageway instead of a dual carriageway when in the previous two years 107 miles of dual carriageway have been built right up to Durham and then the right hon. Gentleman begins to do something different?

    I did not intend any discourtesy. It was merely that there was no time to accept the invitation.

    Darlington By-Pass And Durham Motorways


    asked the Minister of Transport when it is expected that the principal route for through traffic by the Darlington by-pass and Durham motorways will be completed.

    It is too soon to say. The draft scheme extending the line of the Darlington by-pass is open to objection until 5th August. There are then other statutory processes to be completed. I hope, however, that construction of three major bridges on the bypass will begin before the end of this financial year. A draft scheme for the Durham motorway will be published shortly. The project is being prepared as quickly as possible.

    Is the Minister aware that it has been stated that one of the excuses for making the A.1 by-pass into a three-lane carriageway was that the new motorway was coming into being? Can we have an assurance, therefore, that the recent cuts in expenditure announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer will have no effect on this road?

    I can give the hon. Member that assurance, and I can assure him that we hope to start work this autumn on the three bridges which are an essential preliminary to this motorway. I think that that will assure the hon. Member that we are moving very fast indeed.

    Loampit Vale, Lewisham (Car Parking)


    asked the Minister of Transport what proposals he has for the provision of a general car park to be included in the redevelopment plan for Loampit Vale, Lewisham.

    I have made no proposals myself. The power to provide off-street car parks rests with local authorities. This redevelopment is a London County Council matter. I know of proposals to the council by the Lewisham Chamber of Commerce, but my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government answered a question from my hon. Friend about them yesterday.

    Is my right hon. Friend aware that in a letter dated the 11th November from his Department it was stated that London County Council intended to provide this car park? Is he aware that it has now been made clear by the L.C.C. that it does not intend to provide these parking facilities which are desperately needed in Lewisham? In view of that earlier letter, what action does my right hon. Friend propose to take?

    I am not aware of an earlier letter and, as my hon. Friend has not given me notice that he would raise it, I am afraid that I cannot discuss it now.

    London-Yorkshire Motorway


    asked the Minister of Transport whether he will now make a further statement on the progress made with regard to the construction of the Leicester portion of the London-Yorkshire motorway.

    I have nothing to add at present to the Answer I gave to the hon. Member on 21st June.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his answer is shocking? Has he received a communication from the Leicester Chamber of Commerce asking him to deal with the matter at once because it is interfering with productivity, goods are not reaching the docks in time and, consequently large orders are being lost? Why does he not hurry up with the matter after seven years?

    I am following the procedure laid down by Parliament, which is that when we publish a side road order we have to wait three months for objections. I can only do what Parliament has laid down.

    In view of the wholly unsatisfactory reply, I propose to raise this matter again at an early date.


    New Cunard Liner


    asked the Minister of Transport if he will now announce the details of the mutual agreement between the Cunard Company and Her Majesty's Government, made by him in accordance with paragraph 26 of the Memorandum of Points of Agreement, Command Paper No. 1319; and to which shipyards work on contracts and subcontracts in connection with the new Cunard liner have been allocated.

    The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport
    (Vice-Admiral John Hughes Hallett)

    The tenders were returnable on 31st July and were opened yesterday. Their evaluation by Cunard and the Ministry has therefore only just begun. The final detailed agreement will not be ready until a later stage.

    Does the Minister not realise that many shipyards are waiting in suspense for the gigantic orders which may flow from this amazing, untimely and unexpected plan of Government opulence?

    Yes, I think we do recognise that, and we hope to be ready some time in October with the evaluation of the tenders, after which we shall get on as quickly as possible.


    asked the Minister of Transport, in view of the fact that the majority of the shareholders of the Cunard White Star Company have declared themselves against the building of a new "Queen" liner, whether he will withdraw the offer of a public loan to that company.

    No, Sir. I understand that the facts are not as my hon. Friend alleges.

    Is my hon. and gallant Friend not aware that of those who replied to the questionnaire 93 per cent. voted against the project? When such a large proportion of those replying were against it, when the House is uneasy about the project, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer is calling for a great deal of cutting of expenditure, is it not time that this project was reconsidered?

    No, Sir. I understand that Mr. Gregory, who leads the opposition of shareholders, simply declared that he had the support of 10 per cent. or more, which is sufficient for him to requisition a special meeting of the company. But that is very different from saying that the majority of shareholders are opposed to the project. At the recent annual meeting the project was endorsed.

    If the Government persist in spending £18 million of public money on this plan, will the Minister at least see that the money is fairly distributed among the many shipyards which are in need of the work and which are capable and willing to do it?

    I am not sure that I follow the point made by the hon. and learned Member. I am afraid that it is not possible to award a contract to more than one shipbuilder or, in the case of Swan Hunter, to two tendering jointly.

    Docks And Harbours (Report)


    asked the Minister of Transport when he expects to receive the report of the Rochdale Committee inquiring into the adequacy of docks and harbours; and if he will make a statement.


    asked the Minister of Transport when he expects to receive the report of the Rochdale Committee into major docks and harbours; and if he will make a statement.

    The Committee is fully aware of the importance and urgency of its task and is making good progress, but it will be some time before its Report can be expected.

    Will my right hon. Friend agree that nothing would help the export trade more than an improvement in the efficiency of our docks? Would he keep a watch on this and expedite the report as quickly as possible?

    I can assure this House that Lord Rochdale is extremely anxious to complete this as soon as possible because of the very urgency of the need for it, but I am bound to point out to the House that it is a big subject which requires a great deal of study.

    Bearing in mind that 99 per cent. of the country's exports still go through the docks of this country, is my right hon. Friend aware that the decision of the Port of London Authority to increase the Tilbury Dock Scheme by £20 million is to be welcomed, and is he also aware that it is necessary to improve both management and labour techniques in the docks of this country?

    I realise the importance of that. That is why the terms of reference were drawn so wide, so that Lord Rochdale could include that in his inquiry.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his reply will give satisfaction to the workers and employers because it is necessary that the terms of reference should be wide, because this is a vast industry and we do not want a botched-up report but a report which will really be helpful to both sides?

    I agree. From the time of the appointment of the Committee I made it clear that it was not for witch-hunting and trying to apportion blame in any way, but for an inquiry into Management, mechanical handling, construction of docks, labour—every single thing possibly connected with docks.

    Nuclear Propulsion


    asked the Minister of Transport if he will now make a statement about the development of a nuclear-propelled merchant vessel.


    asked the Minister of Transport whether he will make a further statement on the development of a nuclear-powered merchant ship.

    Is my right hon. Friend aware that his replies to this question in recent months have become very pessimistic from the point of view of those Who want to see a prototype at sea? Now that my right hon. Friend has had tenders in hand for a whole year, when will he make up his mind about it? Will there be a statement during the Recess?

    I am afraid that this must be considered and is now being discussed in the light of the Chancellor's statement.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that now that Euratom is conducting projects in Germany, Holland, France and Italy, it would be quite disastrous if we abandoned this race? If the right hon. Gentleman is constitutionally unable to make a decision, will he ask the Prime Minister to designate another Minister who is able to make a decision?

    I am afraid that the hon. Member is not right about marine nuclear power in Europe. My information is not the same as his, but I will make a decision as quickly as possible.

    As the right hon. Gentleman is so constantly postponing decisions on major policy, may I ask whether it would not be a good idea if he changed the name of his Department to the "Ministry of Procrastination"?

    That might have been true at some time when certain people were present in the Ministry, but not now.

    Shipbuilding (Credit Facilities)


    asked the Minister of Transport what evidence he has of the credit terms being offered by shipbuilders overseas as a result of which British shipbuilders are losing orders.

    For export orders foreign shipbuilders are frequently offering credit for seven years after delivery, and sometimes for longer periods, covering 50 per cent. to 80 per cent. of the cost of the ship. The improved facilities from the Export Credits Guarantee Department are helping British shipbuilders to offer comparable terms for export orders. But no case has so far come to our notice of a British shipowner placing an order abroad simply because of credit terms, but I hope the investigation which Messrs. Peat, Marwick, Mitchell are carrying out will throw more light on the subject.

    The hon. and gallant Gentleman said that there was no evidence that British ship owners are buying vessels abroad because of the credit terms offered by foreign shipbuilders, but is there any evidence that foreign shipbuilders are offering terms to foreign ship owners which are causing British shipbuilders to lose business with foreign ship owners?

    Certainly, the credit terms are easier in many of the Continental yards with their own owners than they are here. I am not quite sure that I follow the second part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question.

    I asked whether British shipbuilders are losing orders to foreign ship owners because of the credit terms being offered by foreign shipbuilding yards.

    That is one of the things about which we hope to obtain more definite information from the present inquiry.

    South Africa


    asked the Minister of Transport what action he intends to take following his study of the legal position of South Africa in relation to the Commonwealth Merchant Shipping Agreement; and if he will make a statement.

    The legal position of South Africa in relation to the Commonwealth Merchant Shipping Agreement is under examination with the South African Government. It would not, however, appear to have any bearing on the present activities of British ships in South Africa.

    That is not the point. If I follow the hon. and gallant Gentleman correctly, can South Africa use her legal position or any legal quirk to prevent the modification of this agreement?

    If the hon. Gentleman is referring to the Canadian shipping regulations, I would reply that in our view South Africa's consent is no longer necessary to the variation of the agreement.

    Then is it the case that we can expect a modification of this agreement to go through, and as that is of consequence to this country, what consultations has the hon. and gallant Gentleman had with the Canadian Government and what representation did he make to them?


    Great Central Line


    asked the Minister of Transport when, and for what purposes, he approved the cost of major works on the Great Central line between Woodford Halse and Rugby at a cost of over £250,000.

    I am informed that no works requiring my approval have been carried out on this section of the Great Central line.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that for years now this stretch of line has been closed on Sundays and when one writes to the various officials concerned to find out why, one receives quite different replies? Is he aware that passengers who use this line are under the impression, and they have great evidence for it, that the work is not necessary and that the line is being closed to try to prove to the public that there are no passengers on it and, therefore, it can be closed altogether? Is he aware that in this holiday period the railway officials have chosen to close the line, causing great inconvenience at this time to the travelling public, for a succession of about ten Sundays, but that the railway workers cannot tell us what is being done? Is it not time that there was an investigation into this matter?

    I am informed that the line has two tracks and that the work being carried out is for maintenance and is not a major operation. When a ballast train is occupying one track it is necessary to close the line and substitute a bus service. I am informed that Sunday closing is now less frequent.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is no evidence that any work is being done at all on the line? Is he aware that the line is closed so frequently that the track could have been taken up and put down again a dozen times?

    The Commission has spent about £200,000 in the last four years in maintenance work.

    Psychiatric Social Workers


    asked the Prime Minister if his attention has been drawn to the recent resolution of the Association of Education Committees urging the implementation of the recommendations of the Underwood Committee in 1955 concerning the training of an adequate number of persons for work as educational psychologists and psychiatric social workers; and if he will ensure that immediate action is taken by the several appropriate Government departments to provide adequate training facilities and financial inducements for recruits.

    I have been asked to reply. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"]

    My right hon. Friends are anxious to increase the supply of qualified child guidance staff and have the questions of training facilities and financial assistance under constant review. A new university course for educational psychologists is expected to start this autumn. Two further university courses for psychiatric social workers have been provided during the last year.

    Salaries for these workers in the National Health Service were increased from 1st November, 1959, and a claim for a further increase is being considered by the appropriate Whitley Council.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that this has been under consideration for at least six years, and many more years before that? Can he not, for example, undertake to release on full salary suitable people in the Government service and the local government service so that suitable people can be put into courses without money being paid?

    Yes, Sir; we will consider this and any other proposal made to my right hon. Friends.

    Press (D Notices)

    With your permission, Mr. Speaker, may I make a submission to you on a matter which is of considerable interest to the House?

    Yesterday, it came to my attention that a notice had been issued to the Press and to the B.B.C. indicating a wide change in the procedure under which reference may be made to any work connected, however remotely, with defence matters. I sought yesterday, before 2.30 p.m., to submit a Question to the Prime Minister, asking whether this notice was issued with his authority, and whether, in view of the wide procedural change, he would consider it.

    The Question was declined by the Table Office on the ground that the matter appeared to be secret. The submission I wish to make is that the notice itself deals only with procedural matters, making a change which, on the face of it, would seem to impose a very wide black-out in future on any news which may be raised under this matter.

    On 11th May last, Questions were accepted in the House and answered by the Prime Minister on the general issue of Ministerial responsibility for D notices and their general impact. My submission is that, since this particular notice includes no secret matter—being itself a procedural matter—if we were prevented from raising it with the Government we would be thereby submitting to a complete black-out of news about issues of tremendous importance that may involve the expenditure of vast sums of money, and would have no future occasion on which to raise it, since nothing else would arise because the notice would not make any announcements. I therefore submit that to refuse a Question in these circumstances is to make tremendous inroads on the rights of this House on a matter of great importance.

    The right hon. Gentleman and the House will know, I am sure, how anxious I am—indeed, how anxious we all are—that the service we give to hon. Members in the matter of Questions is as perfect as could be. I am afraid that I have not had long enough to consider this matter. There has not been very much time since it first came to my attention.

    I am bound to say that, on the face of it, there are some difficulties about the right hon. Gentleman's proposition. If necessary, I will come back to him and invite further information from him, if I may, in private circumstances. I would be grateful for a further opportunity to consider this, as I have not had much time.

    I am grateful to you, Mr. Speaker. I drew this matter to your attention as soon as I knew of the notice. I am in some difficulty. On Friday, we rise for the Summer Recess, so that tomorrow is the last occasion on which I could ask the Prime Minister a Question this side of the Recess. Had my Question been accepted, it would have reached the Prime Minister in the ordinary way tomorrow. There are now difficulties about this. If it transpired later in the day that you felt that this Question could, because of its nature, be permitted, would you be able to arrange an opportunity for me to raise it tomorrow?

    There is some difficulty about that. I will think about it, but the time would seem to have gone by. For obvious reasons, I cannot get it in now. I do not think that I can get it in today, but I will consider what the right hon. Gentleman has said. I will try not to defeat his intentions unless my duties oblige me to.

    House Of Commons Accommodation (Committee's Report)

    I have a statement to make to the House about the further recommendations which have been made to me by the Committee advising us about accommodation. I shall endeavour to summarise them, as I am anxious not to trespass unduly on the time of the House.

    The Committee proposes that the roof space over the Committee rooms upstairs could provide accommodation not only for the Fees Office and the Clerk of the House, as was previously recommended, but also 51 rooms for the use of individual Members, and two large rooms and a rest room for a total of 25 secretaries. A new lift would be provided, close to the existing lift to the Upper Committee Corridor.

    I understand that the roof space scheme would be by far the most costly of the improvements which have been under consideration by the Minister of Works, who is, I understand, answering a Question today about the timing of this scheme.

    The Committee has also recommended that the accommodation in Westminster Hall now occupied by the Fees Office should be used as a Members' desk room.

    In order to save the time of the House, I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT details of other recommendations made by the Committee for rearranging the accommodation of the Library and for providing additional accommodation for the staff of HANSARD, the Press and B.B.C., two Clerks Assistant, book storage and lavatories. The rearrangement of the Library accommodation is acceptable to the Library Committee.

    The House will wish me once again to thank the Chairman and members of the Committee for their labours in the service of the House and for the great amount of work that they have done.

    May I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for that statement and say, in return, that the Committee—and, I am sure, the whole House, particularly the Library Committee—will be extremely grateful to you for allocating certain rooms below your house for the service of the Library.

    While I am grateful to learn that steps are at last being taken to improve the amenities of the House, Mr. Speaker, I am satisfied that the amenities for hon. Members are in a rotten condition. What I do not understand, from a Written Answer from the Minister of Works, is that a second lift does not appear to be on the horizon. Some hon. Members, for the past four years, have had to climb to the top of this building because there has only been one lift and often that has been out of commission.

    When we returned to the House after the General Election of 1959, even the lift man was taken off and, as some hon. Members do not seem to be capable of closing the gates after them, other hon. Members have to continue to walk up to the top of the building. This happens frequently. The lift was out of order only last week and it is high time—and this should be a priority—that a second lift was installed to the Upper Committee Corridor. This is a very serious matter. I know that an important debate is to follow—

    Order, The hon. Gentleman will forgive me. I understand and appreciate his difficulties about moving in a vertical plane. I do not desire to be frivolous. He has been to see me about it. But he will understand my difficulty. I cannot answer for the Minister of Works, and I cannot allow this matter to be debated now, because there is no Question before the House.

    Following are the details of the other recommendations:

    The Committee recommended that the existing rooms in the Central Block should be left virtually unaltered, but that the present corridor should be widened and used to provide additional dictating cubicles for the staff of HANSARD. In addition, they recommend that space should be allotted in the North Block for two bedrooms and a joint bathroom for the two Clerks Assistant. It is recommended that the North and South cross-wings should be used for book storage and that the existing Tea Room stairs should be extended to the Upper Committee Corridor with a mezzanine floor suitable for a desk room for three Members and additional lavatory accommodation.
    The space on the ground floor of Mr. Speaker's house which he has made available for the use of the House should be allocated to the Library staff. who should also retain rooms 42 to 44 in the North Curtain Corridor. In exchange, the Library should surrender "The Times" Room, which could then be divided and provide two rooms for other uses.
    Finally, the Committee make proposals for some additional accommodation for the Press and the B.B.C. They recommend that the Press should have an additional room adjacent to the present Press Gallery rooms and that the accommodation at present occupied by the B.B.C. should be extended by some 50 per cent.

    European Economic Community (Motion And Amendments)

    On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I apologise to the House and to the Prime Minister for delaying the important debate which we are about to have, but I want to submit to you two connected and short points of order before we begin.

    On 28th June, I moved a Motion about the European Common Market, and looking at the terms of that Motion it seems to me to cover all the points that are raised in today's Motion and the proposed Amendments to it.

    My Motion was in the following terms:
    "That this House, being gravely concerned at the pressure to make this country enter a European common market and the consequent threat to subject its independence, its membership of the Comonwealth and its right and power to plan its economy in its own way, to a political union with Germany, France, Italy and Benelux, as well as at the threat to the survival of the Commonwealth inherent in these proposals, urges Her Majesty's Government not to enter into any negotiations concerning such entry until expressly empowered so to do by a conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers and by this House."
    At the end of the debate, HANSARD records:
    "It being Ten o'clock. the debate stood adjourned."
    you, Sir, having indicated that it would not be right for the Closure to be moved, there being points of view which had not been adequately covered in that debate.

    The point which I am putting to you is whether the Motion and Amendments now on the Order Paper do not now offend against our rule against anticipation, the other Motion, covering exactly the same ground, standing adjourned.

    The second point I put to you, in the event that the Motion and the Amendments on the Order Paper do not offend against the rule against anticipation and are, therefore, in order, is that the only Amendment on the Order Paper which is a direct challenge and opposition to the Government Motion is that standing in my name and the names of my hon. Friends, namely, to leave out from "House" to the end to add:
    "regrets the decision of Her Majesty's Government to make formal application under Article 237 of the Treaty of Rome, as being calculated to intensify the cold war, perpetuate the division of Europe, destroy the effectivness of the Commonwealth and fatally impair the United Kingdom's power to plan its industry and agriculture, to assist underdeveloped countries and to further world security and peace".
    I and the House would be grateful to you if you could indicate which Amendments you propose to call, Sir.

    The answer to the first part of the submission of the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) is that in applying the rule against anticipation I am required to take into account the reasonable prospect of the matter being further debated. I am in some difficulty in imagining that the hon. Member's Motion has much reasonable prospect in the circumstances.

    Selection is a matter for me, and I propose to select the Amendment which stands in the names of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition and other right hon. and hon. Members. I am in the happy position that, so far as I can see, everything that is is desired to be said in support of the other Amendments can be said upon the issues then arising. I will not blackmail myself in any way, but I will bear in mind the fact that the hon. Member has an Amendment on the Order Paper.

    European Economic Community

    3.42 p.m.

    I beg to move,

    That this House supports the decision of Her Majesty's Government to make formal application under Article 237 of the Treaty of Rome in order to initiate negotiations to see if satisfactory arrangements can be made to meet the special interests of the United Kingdom, of the Commonwealth and of the European Free Trade Association; and further accepts the undertaking of Her Majesty's Government that no agreement affecting these special interests or involving British sovereignty will be entered into until it has been approved by this House after full consultation with other Commonwealth countries, by whatever procedure they may generally agree.
    We must all agree that the problems involved in the future of our relations with Europe are among the most difficult and the most important that the nation has ever had to face. The moment of decision, however, has not yet come. What the House is now asked to do is to support the Government's proposal to initiate negotiations on the Common Market within the terms of the Motion. When those negotiations are completed one way or the other, the House will have to pass judgment.

    The underlying issues, European unity, the future of the Commonwealth, the strength of the free world, are all of capital importance, and it is because we firmly believe that the United Kingdom has a positive part to play in their development—for they are all related—that we ask the House to approve what we are doing.

    After the last war, the process of reconciliation in Europe was itself a deliberate and positive act in which forbearance and even forgiveness played their part. It first took, I remember, a dramatic form when, in 1950, the German delegates were admitted to the Council of Europe. At that time, my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) conceived the notion of what he called the three interlocking groups, Britain and the Commonwealth, Europe, and the New World. He spoke of them, I remember, as three leaves of a piece of clover, or, again, as three intersecting circles. Of course, he was right in his analysis, but ever since then we have been, in one way or another, trying to find a practical solution to the problem of their interconnection.

    N.A.T.O. brought together thirteen nations of Europe, one great Commonwealth country—Canada—and the United States in an alliance partly military, partly political. The other Commonwealth countries took no part, not because they did not sympathise with our purpose—many of them certainly did—but because they were distant from the Atlantic area. Some nations of Europe, like Sweden, remained neutral, partly through their tradition and partly through their position. In the O.E.E.C., the European group was somewhat widened to include countries such as Switzerland. Again, in the Council of Europe, we had another slight variation.

    Meanwhile, there has grown up the practical application of the aspirations towards unity in continental Europe by the formation of the European Economic Community. I ask hon. Members to note the word "economic". The Treaty of Rome does not deal with defence. It does not deal with foreign policy. It deals with trade and some of the social aspects of human life which are most connected with trade and production.

    Whatever views are held of what should be our relations with the E.E.C., everyone will readily acknowledge the tremendous achievement involved. Its most striking feature, of course, is the reconciliation of France and Germany. That is on the moral side. But on the political side these countries have made remarkable economic progress in recent years. Of course, that is not all due to the European Economic Community. Nevertheless, the Community has imparted an impetus to the economic growth of the Six. The Community has developed a dynamic of its own. Above all, it is an idea which has gripped men's minds.

    At the time when E.E.C. was being discussed, most people felt that it would be dangerous to split Europe in this way, and a great effort was made for two years, during negotiations in which my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade played a conspicuous part, to form a free trade area upon an industrial basis, excluding agriculture, thus allowing almost all European countries to take part.

    This negotiation, which, at one time, seemed to have encouraging prospects of success, finally broke down. After this setback, some of the countries outside the Six formed the European Free Trade Association and one of its declared objects was to work for wider trading arrangements in Western Europe, and E.F.T.A. has steadfastly pursued that objective ever since its inception.

    I am myself convinced that the existence of this division in Europe, although it is superficially of a commercial character, undoubtedly detracts from the political strength and unity of Western Europe. If we are to be involved in Europe at all, then we have a duty—and so have all the other countries in Europe—to seek some means of resolving the causes of potential division.

    In this country, of course, there is a long tradition of isolation. In this, as in most countries, there is a certain suspicion of foreigners. There is also the additional division between us and Continental Europe of a wholly different development of our legal, administrative and, to some extent, political systems. If we are basically united by our religious faith, even here great divisions have grown up.

    Nevertheless, it is perhaps worth recording that in every period when the world has been in danger of tyrants or aggression, Britain has abandoned isolationism. It is true that when the immediate danger was removed, we have sometimes tried to return to an insular policy. In due course we have abandoned it. In any case, who could say today that our present danger had been removed, or will soon disappear? Who doubts that we have to face a long and exhausting struggle over more than one generation if the forces of Communistic expansion are to be contained?

    I have sometimes heard it asked, "What would happen if one of the countries with which we might be associated in Europe fell into political difficulties, even went Communist? Would not this have a grave effect on us if we were members?" Of course, but the effects would be equally grave whether we were members of the Common Market or not. If a member of N.A.T.O. or W.E.U. went Communist or semi-Communist, what would be the position of the other member States? If all the countries of Western Europe became satellites of Moscow, what would be the position of this island?

    We have only to pose the question to answer it. We shall not escape from the consequences of such a disaster by seeking in isolation a security which our geographical position no longer gives us. Surely, from this point of view, it will be better for us to play our rôle to the full and use the influence we have for the free development of the life and thought of Europe.

    There is also a feeling, and I share it, and it is a serious danger felt by many people, that it would be very dangerous if the United Kingdom, by helping to create a truly united Europe, united in every aspect of its life, were to join in a movement tending to isolate Europe from the world and turn its back on the world and look inwards only upon itself. It may, of course, be that there are some people in Europe who believe that this small but uniquely endowed continent can lead a rich, fruitful and prosperous life almost cut off from contact with the rest of the world.

    But I do not believe that such people, if they exist, are to be found among the leading men or the Governments of Europe. Certainly, this island could never join an association which believed in such medieval dreams, but if there are little Europeans, and perhaps there are, is it not the duty of this country, with its world-wide ties, to lend its weight to the majority of Europeans who see the true prospective of events? I believe that our right place is in the vanguard of the movement towards the greater unity of the free world, and that we can lead better from within than outside. At any rate, I am persuaded that we ought to try.

    Before I come in detail to the various problems, and there are many—the Commonwealth, British agriculture, and E.F.T.A.—I should like to say something about the method which we will follow. It is contained in the Motion before the House, but I think that it should be somewhat elaborated.

    The first and most important point is that any agreement, if reached, will have to receive the approval of the House of Commons. The second is equally important. There will be full consultation at every stage with the interests affected. The consultation must take somewhat different forms. Some of the E.F.T.A. countries may be negotiating themselves in their own right, but we will all work closely together.

    With regard to British agriculture, we shall keep very close to the representatives who can speak for this great industry. We shall consult the Commonwealth countries at every level and at all stages. If it is desired by the Commonwealth, we will have a meeting at the appropriate stage either of Ministers or of Prime Ministers, as they may wish. This is really for them. As I said on Monday, no difficulty presents itself here. I said:
    "I have made it quite clear, and so have my right hon Friends: if, at some point, it were thought desirable to have a meeting of Commonwealth Prime Ministers, at the right moment, probably when the negotiations had reached a certain stage, before any final decisions were put before Parliament and this country, then I can only say that I would be the first to welcome such a meeting."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 31st July. 1961; Vol. 645, c. 932–3.]
    That is the method.

    I now pass to the wider issues involved. It is, of course, argued, and with deep sincerity, that by associating more closely with Europe in this new economic grouping we should injure the strength of the Commonwealth. If I thought this, I would not, of course, recommend this Motion to the House. But let us examine the Commonwealth position. We make no binding decisions at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' meetings. We follow no agreed foreign policy. We have no agreed defence policy. Some members of the Commonwealth are in the various defensive pacts of the free world, and some are unaligned. Yet, for all this diversity, the Commonwealth, although not strictly a political unit, has real life and unity. It is something precious and unique.

    I ask myself the question: how can we best serve the Commonwealth? By standing aside from the movement for European unity, or by playing our full part in its development? By retaining our influence in the New World, or by allowing it to decline by the relative shrinking of our own political and economic power compared with the massive grouping of the modern world? Britain in isolation would be of little value to our Commonwealth partners, and I think that the Commonwealth understand it. It would, therefore, be wrong in my view to regard our Commonwealth and our European interests as conflicting. Basically, they must be complementary.

    If it is vital not to destroy the influence of the Commonwealth in the political field, and I use it in its broadest sense, it is equally vital to do nothing that would damage it economically. What the Ottawa agreements did was to recognise and to strengthen a pattern of trade which had grown up naturally. It was trade between the old country and the new territories; Colonies in the strict sense of the word, opened up by British settlers as in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The new countries provided the raw materials and agricultural products; the old country provided manufactured goods. The new countries opened up the territories; the old country provided the capital with which to build the harbours, the railways, and the rest, and sold the manufactured goods necessary to develop the new life. That was the system, and Ottawa formally regularised it.

    The system of free entry and preferences has been of great advantage to all the partners although over recent years its impact has been reduced. But at the same time there have been important changes in these last thirty years. First and foremost, British agriculture has been revived and now supplies our country with two-thirds of its temperate foodstuffs and with one-half of all its foodstuffs. All the Commonwealth countries have also developed a wider diversity of manufactured goods, partly for sale at home and partly for export.

    As the House knows, this changing pattern of trade has presented us with certain difficulties in certain quarters and they will have to be dealt with whether we enter the Common Market or not. Nevertheless, we recognise to the full our duty and our obligations to the Commonwealth. In the words of the Motion, our aim in these negotiations is to make satisfactory arrangements to meet the special interests of the Commonwealth, particularly, of course, in the economic field.

    The same applies to our own agricultural industry, about which I will speak later. I frankly admit that if the structure of the European Economic Community had been going on for a generation or more this task would be not only difficult, but well-nigh impossible. But it has not. It is very new. The Treaty lays down a number of principles, but the working out of detailed policies, especially so far as agriculture is concerned, is only just beginning.

    Before I come to consider the particular interests of the United Kingdom, I should give the House an account of the position of E.F.T.A. Our partners in the European Free Trade Association, of course, share our objective of bringing to an end the economic division of Western Europe. They have shown much understanding and sympathy during our consultations during recent weeks, and hon. Members will have noted the communiqué issued by the E.F.T.A. Council at Geneva last Monday. The Council considers that the decision of the United Kingdom to take the initiative which I announced to the House on Monday, and which was followed by a similar statement by the Danish Government, provides an opportunity to find an appropriate solution for all the E.F.T.A. countries and thus promote the solidarity and cohesion of Europe.

    For our part, we have stated that arrangements which will meet satisfactorily the legitimate concerns of our fellow-members of E.F.T.A. must be among the conditions for our own entry into the E.E.C. Moreover, all members of E.F.T.A. will co-ordinate their actions and remain united throughout the negotiations. E.F.T.A. will remain in being until the objective of its members has been achieved through the creation of a wider European grouping.

    I have spoken of the Commonwealth interests, which are mainly though not wholly in the field of raw materials and agricultural production. In referring to the special needs of this country in the Government's Motion we have very much in mind our own agricultural industry. We have always made it clear that any decision to join the European Economic Community depended upon satisfactory arrangements being made with the Community which would assure the continued well-being of British agriculture. Our objective is to have a prosperous, stable and efficient agricultural industry, organised to provide a good life for those who live and work in the countryside. This represents the fixed decision of the nation. I think that we are all agreed as to purpose. How this is to be achieved is a matter of method.

    Methods have changed. In the war and for the period immediately afterwards we operated on the basis of a controlled market and the bulk purchase by the Government of the products of British farmers. We moved later into a different method, of a free market for imports, so as to obtain the advantage of cheap prices, coupled with a system of Exchequer support for the home producer. But even within this scheme there have been variations in emphasis, as in the case of milk, and deviations from the pattern of deficiency payments by the Exchequer.

    Our system of agricultural support is basically different from the methods which are being employed on the Continent, and which seem likely to give the pattern of the common agricultural policy when it is decided. We shall have to see what sort of changes will have to be made over a period to bring the systems into line. It may mean that we shall ultimately have to shift from the system where much of the farmers' support comes from the Exchequer to one in which arrangements are made to secure that the market itself provides a fair return to the producer. Such a development would mean much more substantial adaptations in our methods than we have been accustomed to, at any rate in recent years—although our methods have never been static.

    I believe that there is a growing realisation that with changing world conditions we are faced with the possibility of changes anyway. But such major changes could be made only gradually, and we should need to see at each stage how they could be so effected as to avoid the risk of prejudice to our main purpose. We are determined to seek such arrangements as will adequately protect the vital interests of our agriculture, but in this we shall not be in opposition to the Governments, still less of the peoples, of the Six countries: nor to the declared aims of the Community respecting agriculture. In our country those engaged in agriculture represent an important—I would even say vital—part, but still a numerically small part of our population. In many European countries they are a very large part of the population, and it is in their interests as well as ours to make sure that agriculture is prosperous.

    But objectives and principles are not enough; we shall have to be satisfied that the actual policies adopted can successively achieve what is desired. The purpose of our negotiation will be to see how this can be achieved within the Community. Our view that we cannot carry matters further without formal negotiation applies with special force to agriculture. The common agricultural policy is not spelt out in the Treaty for all to see; it is in process of being worked out by the Six, and by engaging ourselves in discussions with them we should be able to take a hand in shaping it.

    We have given a pledge to maintain the 1957 Agriculture Act for the lifetime of this Parliament, and we stand by that. As I have said, our continuing purpose is to have a prosperous, stable and efficient agricultural industry. But we must be ready to examine carefully and dispassionately all methods of achieving that purpose, and if there is the will I do not think that the working out of satisfactory arrangements to meet our requirements should prove an impossible task.

    All that the Prime Minister has said applies to all countries throughout the world. Why should we not have this development through the United Nations? That was not set up because nations agreed on the question of peace and war, but because they disagreed. Therefore, why not have its complement in an international authority regulating international trade?

    However great these dreams may be we must deal with the situation as we find it. We may get a second lift one day, or even a third; meanwhile, let us travel in the lift that is available.

    I must now turn to the needs of British industry. The development of the European Economic Community, the opportunity of the mass market which this has created for European industrialists, and the spur that this has given them to competitiveness and efficiency, present the British economy with a great challenge. Whether or not we go into the Common Market we shall have to face the competition of very efficient industries throughout Western Europe, sustained in some cases by populations not yet wholly industrialised. This competition will be severe. The test will be in the straight competition of brains, productive capacity and energy per man. Costs—that will be the test.

    The protective tariffs set up before the war have given us some shelter from this competition in the home market. Many people feel that we have perhaps had too much shelter. However that may be, in the long run an island placed as ours is, where our need to export to other people which will always be greater than their need to export to us, cannot maintain the high standards of life that we want for our people in an isolated protective system.

    An even more important question is: what would be the loss or gain, not merely of entering a competitive field but of having a common market to develop? In other words, what are the possibilities on the production side? In industries requiring heavy capital investment unit costs are determined by the extent to which the equipment can be used continuously at maximum capacity. With some modern industries, of which the petro-chemical and plastic industries are good examples, the economic scale of production and the capital expenditure involved are so large that the industries can be established and developed economically only with a mass market. It is also true that advanced industrial techniques, such as automation production lines, which can bring great savings in unit costs, are economic only with really large-scale production.

    The scale of a potential market also has an important bearing on industrial research. We cannot draw up a precise balance sheet of the prospects for our industries—how much they would gain and how much they would lose—but I think that the weight of opinion among British industrialists is that the balance of advantage for them lies in joining a unit which will be of a size comparable, let us say, to the United States or Soviet Russia.

    There are some other aspects with which I wish to deal. The first is what might be called the social implications of the Treaty, such things as movements of population, equal pay and all the rest. At present, the countries of the Six are only beginning what we might call the harmonisation of their social policies. There are very different circumstances in the various countries and, naturally, each one must take into account its own circumstances. So if we joined at a formative stage, as it were, we should be able to bring our own ideas into the common pool with, I hope, mutual benefit.

    Meanwhile, it is quite unreal to suppose that we could be compelled suddenly to accept a flood of cheap labour, or to alter the basis of our social security overnight. It is well understood, for instance, that movements of workers would be related by administrative control to actual offers of employment. These apprehensions about the social implications of joining the Treaty are really aspects of a wider constitutional anxiety about what has often been called "sovereignty."

    I must remind the House that the E.E.C. is an economic community, not a defence alliance, or a foreign policy community, or a cultural community. It is an economic community, and the region where collective decisions are taken is related to the sphere covered by the Treaty, economic tariffs, markets and all the rest. Of course, every treaty limits a nation's freedom of action to some extent. Even before the First World War there were certain international conventions to which we bound ourselves. Before the Second World War they grew in character and affected both political and social questions, like the conventions agreed at the International Labour Organisation. Since the war this tendency has grown and our freedom of action is obviously affected by our obligations in N.A.T.O., W.E.U., O.E.E.C. and all the rest.

    A number of years have passed since the movement began which culminated in the Treaty of Rome and I am bound to say that I do not see any signs of the members of the Community losing their national identity because they have delegated a measure of their sovereignty. This problem of sovereignty, to which we must, of course, attach the highest importance is, in the end, perhaps a matter of degree. I fully accept that there are some forces in Europe which would like a genuine federalist system. There are many of my colleagues on both sides of the House who have seen this at Strasbourg and other gatherings. They would like Europe to turn itself into a sort of United States, but I believe this to be a completely false analogy.

    The United States of America was originally born out of colonists with only a few generations of history behind them. They were of broadly the same national origins and spoke the same language. Europe is too old, too diverse in tradition, language and history to find itself united by such means. Although the federalist movement exists in Europe it is not one favoured by the leading figures and certainly not by the leading Governments of Europe today. Certainly not by the French Government.

    The alternative concept, the only practical concept, would be a confederation, a commonwealth if hon. Members would like to call it that—what I think General de Gaulle has called Europe des patries—which would retain the great traditions and the pride of individual nations while working together in clearly defined spheres for their common interest. This seems to me a concept more in tune with the national traditions of European countries and, in particular, of our own. It is one with which we could associate willingly and wholeheartedly. At any rate, there is nothing in the Treaty of Rome which commits the members of E.E.C. to any kind of federalist solution, nor could such a system be imposed on member countries.

    Here again, unless we are in the negotiations, unless we can bring our influence to bear, we shall not be able to play our part in deciding the future structure of Europe. It may be, as I have said, that we Shall find that our essential needs cannot be met, but if they can I do not feel that there is anything on the constitutional side of which we need be in fear and which cannot be resolved to our satisfaction.

    I have mentioned the main considerations which are involved in this great problem, the long-term view of British industry and British agriculture; our responsibilities to our partners in the Commonwealth, our obligations to our fellow members of E.F.T.A.; the future of our national influence in world affairs and the strengthening of the Western Alliance.

    These considerations are so important that I do not accept the view that we hesitated too long in reaching our decision. It was absolutely necessary to have the preliminary contacts both on the official and on the ministerial levels and with our friends in the Seven and with our friends in the Six. That has taken some time. It was also absolutely necessary to have thorough consultation with the Commonwealth. Equally, I think that everyone would agree that merely to postpone the decision until the autumn on some excuse or other would be mere temporising.

    I have always said frankly to the House that I think that the failure of these negotiations would be a tragedy. Of course it would. If I am asked whether the prospects are now improved, I can only repeat that I am more hopeful than before. The very deterioration of the situation in Europe must tend to increase the forces of unity. There is an old fable of the rivalry between the sun and the wind, as to which could make the traveller discard his coat. As the East wind blows, nations tend to draw together under a common cloak of unity.

    It has also been suggested that we should make application on a different basis, perhaps under Article 238, with the object of becoming associates of the Treaty rather than members—"country members" so to speak. We have thought about this and we have found that it would raise all the same problems for British agriculture and Commonwealth trade without giving us any position in which we could share in the decisions of the Community in all its aspects. We have, therefore, come to the conclusion, in the light of the informal discussions, which, as the House knows, we have had over a lengthy period, that the only practicable way to put the question to the test would be to apply for membership under Article 237 of the Treaty of Rome.

    I feel sure that European countries realise that there are special problems affecting our position which must be dealt with by special provisions. Indeed, that was their experience when they formed the Six. For instance, special arrangements were made for France's large overseas interests. There were special protocols for Italy, for Holland and for Germany. These were all the subject of negotiation and debate. We must hope that the Six will regard the special arrangements which we require as negotiable in principle and in that case negotiations will begin.

    These must, of their very nature, be protracted, detailed and technical. For as well as any matters of principle there is a question of dealing with a large number of separate commodities and reaching agreement on them. No one can be sure that these negotiations will succeed. We hope that the Six will recognise that our decision opens out wide perspectives for future co-operation which could be to our mutual benefit and to the benefit of many other countries, not least those in process of development. We have much to gain from membership of the Community and we have also much to contribute.

    A great responsibility lies on the Six as well as on ourselves. Hitherto, although there has been this economic division in Europe, while the rift was there, there has also been the hope of closing it and thus the position has been tolerable. But if it should become clear that this rift will continue and perhaps deepen then I fear that the consequences will be grave. As I said in the United States earlier this year
    "… it will be a canker gnawing at the very core of Western Alliance."
    I am sure that this consideration is in the minds of our Continental friends.

    To sum up, there are, as I have said, some to whom the whole concept of Britain working closely in this field with other European nations is instinctively disagreeable. I am bound to say that I find it hard to understand this when they have accepted close collaboration in even more critical spheres. Others feel that our whole and sole duty lies with the Commonwealth. If I thought that our entry into Europe would injure our relations with and influence in the Commonwealth, or be against the true interest of the Commonwealth, I would not ask the House to support this step.

    I think, however, that most of us recognise that in a changing world, if we are not to be left behind and to drop out of the main stream of the world's life, we must be prepared 'to change and adapt OUT methods. All through history this has been one of the main sources of our strength.

    I therefore ask the House to give Ministers the authority—not to sign a treaty—but to find out on what honourable basis such a treaty could be put forward for the decision of the House.

    4.22 p.m.

    I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:

    "notes the decision of Her Majesty's Government to make formal application under Article 237 of the Treaty of Rome in order to initiate negotiations to see if satisfactory arrangements can be made to meet the special interests of the United Kingdom, of the Commonwealth and of the European Free Trade Association regrets that Her Majesty's Government will be conducting these negotiations from a position of grave weakness; and declares that Great Britain should enter the European Economic Community only if this House gives its approval and if the conditions negotiated are generally acceptable to a Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference and accord with our obligations and pledges to other members of the European Free Trade Association".
    I must begin with a personal explanation. Some time ago I accepted an engagement in Canada this week and I was to have flown there on Monday. In view of this debate, I managed to postpone this visit, but I do not think it right to cancel it altogether. If the House, as I hope, does not think me too discourteous, I Shall leave for Canada tonight. Therefore, I am afraid that I shall not be available for the rest of the debate.

    There are those who see the problem of whether or not we should enter the Common Market as a clear-cut and simple one. They have no doubts. Some are passionately in favour of our entry and others are equally passionately against, unconditionally in both instances. The pictures they present of what will happen if we follow the one course or the other are so different as to appear to be related to something totally different.

    Those who are for are convinced that economically to enter the Common Market will provide our salvation, that we shall be miraculously caught up in the dynamic economy of Europe, that there will be perhaps some transitional difficulties, but that these will not be on a great scale and that when they are over we shall by this means be on the high road to permanent prosperity.

    As for our political relationships, they take the view that either we shall retain our political independence in full and our markets with the Commonwealth or—if they happen to be European federalists—they would say that while federal Europe is inevitable we must be part of it and even lead it. Equally, of course, they paint in the gloomiest terms the prospects for us if we do not enter the Common Market, that we are faced then with continued economic decline, that we shall become politically less and less influential in the world. They imply that the Commonwealth, if we really think about it, has no real future and that our very impotence vis-à-vis Europe will contribute to the decline and decay of the Commonwealth.

    At the other extreme there are those who hold with equal passion the opposite view. They reserve their gloom for the picture when we enter the Common Market. The economic growth, they say, is a mirage and, anyhow, if there is dynamism in that economy we shall not be able to compete with it. Our foreign policy, they say, will be dictated by others, our ancient Parliament deprived of its authority and our Commonwealth destroyed by a foolish and fatal decision. For them, equally, the picture, if we stay out, is totally different. It is bright with promise, Commonwealth markets can and will expand while Europe languishes and squabbles. We shall go ahead economically and politically while our influence, spanning five Continents, will continue to be strong and beneficent.

    Those are the two extreme points of view and both of them, I know, are held by some hon. Members in the House, but I think that the large majority of us in both parties find it hard to accept either of these two pictures. We have not the certainty of the extremists. We feel that whether we accept the one picture or the other depends upon profoundly difficult judgments—almost a matter of guess- work—and that on that account they are inevitably greatly influenced not by cool calculation, but by emotional attitudes. We also suspect that both extremes are wrong, that the issue is not as clear-cut and that a more careful analysis will show that it is much more a matter of balance.

    For example, the economic case for going in is said to be very powerful because of the great expansion that has taken place in the Common Market countries in recent years. There is no doubt that there has been such an expansion, but for my part I do not hold the view that this is overwhelmingly due to the Common Market. I think that there are, to any objective observer, other influences at work. For instance, in the case of France—let us face it—the devaluation of the franc was a powerful aid to the expansion of its exports and industry. In the case of Germany, it has been said many times in this House that the emigration from the East has helped West Germany to move faster.

    Certainly not every country in the Common Market has been so prosperous and so dynamic. Belgium is mostly at the bottom of these league tables, even below us in production. I do not think that it would be right to assume that merely by the existence of a Common Market—which, when all is said and done, in the early years of the decade was not there at all—this expansion is to be explained. Incidentally, I think that we must also point out—those of us who are a little sceptical of this—that the idea of immense increases in free imports as the great stimulant to our industry does not seem to be borne out by the experience that we have had of freer imports in recent years.

    On the other side, I do not think that the political consequences which some fear from our entry into the Common Market are as dangerous or profound as they are sometimes made out to be. I agree with the Prime Minister in that I do not think we are necessarily bound for federalism in Europe. Equally, I think that one can exaggerate all too easily the picture of the Commonwealth prospect as apart from Europe in economic terms. Above all, those of us who take this intermediate position, and who cannot accept either extreme, say that before we make up our minds we must know the conditions.

    At least, then we shall have eliminated some of the elements of doubt. At least, then it will be easier to make what will still be, I think, an extremely difficult judgment—for this reason: although there are parts of the Government Motion which we cannot accept, and to which I will refer later, and for that reason we are moving an Amendment to it, yet we shall not oppose the substantive Motion in the Lobby if our Amendment is defeated.

    The decision to open formal negotiations has been hailed as historic and decisive. At first glance, it is hard to see why. It is not as if there had not been negotiations before. I am not thinking only of the long period of negotiations of the Free Trade Area, or even of those between E.F.T.A. and the E.E.C. I am thinking of the informal, official negotiations which have taken place for at least six months now between France, Germany and ourselves.

    Of course, if it were assumed that the negotiations must succeed, then the Government's decision to enter upon them would be historic, but I think that the Prime Minister will agree—indeed, he has said so—that we cannot assume any such thing. Perhaps, therefore, we had better look upon the present decision as no more than this: as a decision to bring the matter finally to the test.

    In any event, it is a noticeable change on the part of the Government, even if the process of change began a little earlier. The Prime Minister, for instance, when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, in November, 1956, in a debate on this subject, said:
    "I do not believe that this House would ever agree to our entering arrangements which, as a matter of principle, would prevent our treating the great range of imports from the Commonwealth at least as favourably as those from the European countries. So this objection, even if there were no other, would be quite fatal to any proposal that the United Kingdom should seek to take part in a European common market by joining a Customs union."
    He went on to say:
    "We must remain free to continue to grant to this great volume of imports the preferential arrangements we have built up over the last twenty-five years."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th November, 1956; Vol. 561, c. 37–42.]
    I do not know whether the Prime Minister still stands by that statement, which was made four-and-a-half years ago. If he does, of course, it is very severely limiting the possibility of the negotiations. Even the Minister of Aviation, when he was President of the Board of Trade, speaking in that same debate, said:
    "We cannot enter into a Customs union because that would mean that we should have to put up tariffs, where no tariffs exist today, against a whole range of Commonwealth goods."—[OFFICTM REPORT, 26th November, 1956; Vol. 561, c. 155.]
    I wonder whether he still stands by that. It is rumoured that he is to conduct the negotiations, or to be in charge of them. It is rather important that he should clear this up, as I hope he will, or that somebody else will on his behalf during this debate.

    The President of the Board of Trade said somewhat later, on 28th March, 1958:
    "As the House is aware, we have given a clear undertaking"
    —I repeat, a clear undertaking—
    "to the Commonwealth countries to maintain their position in our markets for foodstuffs, drink and tobacco."—[OFFICIAM REPORT, 28th March, 1958; Vol. 585, c. 793.]
    Does that undertaking stand? It is important that this should be cleared up.

    A little later, on 12th February, 1959, he said:
    … I cannot conceive that any Government of this country"
    —any Government of this country—
    "would put forward a proposition which would involve the abandonment of Commonwealth free entry. It would be wrong for us and for the whole free world to adopt a policy of new duties on foodstuffs and raw materials, many of which come from underdeveloped countries, at present entering a major market duty-free."
    I hope that he will bear that in mind when the negotiations about New Zealand butter and lamb are taking place.

    The right hon. Gentleman said something else of which I must remind the Prime Minister. He said:
    "Finally, we must recognise that the aim of the main proponents of the Community is political integration. We can see that in Article 138 of the Treaty, which looks towards a common assembly, directly elected. The whole idea of the Six, the Coal and Steel Community and Euratom is a movement towards political integration. That is a fine aspiration, but we must recognise that for us to sign the Treaty of Rome would be to accept as the ultimate goal"
    —to accept as the ultimate goal—
    "political federation in Europe, including ourselves."
    He added, I think quite correctly:
    "That, as I have said, does not seem to me to be a proposition which, at the moment, commands majority support in this country."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th February, 1959; Vol. 599, c. 1381–82]
    I do not think it does today, either.

    The question whether or not the Government were right to change their mind, if they have changed it, is one thing. But the question of how the negotiations have been conducted over these years is another and one about which I think there can be no doubt, for we, at any rate, think that the conduct of these negotiations from 1956 onwards has been profoundly unsatisfactory. Allowing for all the difficulties—and I am well aware of them—I am bound to say that Ministers on the Government side of the House have again and again committed gross errors of judgment as to what the Continental countries were likely to accept.

    When it was plain to a great many people that the French, for instance, had no intention of accepting the Free Trade Area, the President of the Board of Trade went on and on and on with those negotiations, and it was clear that the chances of an agreement between E.F.T.A. and the E.E.C. had disappeared long before the attempt to make such arrangements was abandoned. I must say that I feel some anxiety, in view of the way in which these negotiations have been conducted in the past, that the very same people should conduct the new lot of negotiations now.

    There is also, I think, much force in the criticism that if we were to negotiate our entry, as we now intend to do, this should have been done much earlier. Certainly, the economic position today could hardly be weaker than it is. This is one of the points which we make in our Amendment. I heard it said in Europe—I heard it said only last week-end—that we are looked upon as a liability to the E.E.C. if we join and that, therefore, we have no option. [HON.MEMBERS: "0h."] I am stating what I was told in Europe this week-end, by people of very considerable authority. We are, as it were, asking for a shot in the arm. We are dependent on support from European bankers. I repeat that that is what is being said today.

    The second reason why earlier negotiations, if we are to have them at all, would have been wiser, is that various decisions have already been taken, and taken in a way which might not have been the case had we begun the negotiations before.

    I come to the implications of the Treaty. Until this afternoon the Government have said little about the problems for Britain except that of agriculture. Today, the Prime Minister said a little more about the advantages for British industry. I want to ask only one question, in order that it may be made perfectly clear. Since we have repeatedly said that the great problems were the Commonwealth, E.F.T.A. and agriculture, can we have it firmly laid down that we are still quite uncommitted on all the other aspects of the Common Market which might, or will, affect British industry?

    I will give the right hon. Gentleman one or two examples of the sort of thing which I have in mind. The first is the question of capital movement. I do not know how far hon. Members are aware of what the Treaty of Rome says and what has happened on this subject. Under the Treaty eventually capital movements are to be completely free as between the different countries of the E.E.C. Governments can take protective action in emergency, but what they do can be overruled by the Commission or the Council according to the circumstances.

    This is a very serious infringement of our own rights to protect our foreign exchange markets, and it happens that it is directly contradictory to the Chancellor's latest proposals in this field, for one of the things which he intends to do—indeed, has done already—is to introduce a much stricter control over the movement of capital from this country to countries outside the sterling area. It seems fairly clear that unless special arrangements are negotiated, the freedom which the Chancellor enjoys today to protect our currency would disappear as soon as the Common Market was in full operation. I should like to make this proposal: I think that we are entitled, as the centre of the sterling area, to ask for a special protocol governing the circumstances in which we may introduce control over capital movement, whatever may be the position in the rest of the Common Market.

    There is the question of the Investment Bank. This in itself is an excellent plan by which the poorer, less-developed parts of the community can be helped from a central fund. I suppose that we should have to contribute to it, but I think that it would be fair to say that we have some very serious and heavy obligations to help under-developed countries in other parts of the world, and this, too, is something which should be covered in the negotiations.

    There is also the question of the Social Fund which is set up to deal with transitional hardship. I do not want to go into details, but there is one particular part of our agriculture which I should have thought was almost certain to be damaged by our entry into the Common Market, and that is the horticultural industry. I should like to ask whether the Social Fund, if we decide to go in, could be used to assist in dealing with any difficulties which may arise there.

    There is the question of a common currency, which is mentioned in various quarters as something to which we must look forward. In my opinion, it is idle to speak about a common currency until there is a common government, and the idea of not being in control of our own currency, and having it subject to a supranational or international gathering, would be quite wrong, and I hope that that, equally, will be made abundantly plain.

    I turn to the political aspect of the problem, and I quote again what the President of the Board of Trade said about the effects of the Treaty:
    … we must recognise that for us to sign the Treaty of Rome would be to accept as the ultimate goal political federation in Europe, including ourselves".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th February, 1959; Vol. 599, c. 1382.]
    That is not what the Prime Minister said this afternoon. We are entitled to clarity in this matter. In his statement on Monday he spoke of the aim of the Treaty of Rome being to promote unity and stability in Europe, and today he made it quite plain that what he would expect to see was confederation rather than federation.

    My view on this is quite clear. I think that there is no question whatever of Britain entering into a federal Europe now. British opinion simply is not ripe for this, and in any event it is surely completely incompatible with all the pledges and promises which have been made about the Commonwealth. I am not saying that we have to commit ourselves for all time, for twenty, fifty or a hundred years hence. There is no reason to do that. But we must be clear that what the President of the Board of Trade said in 1959 is not true and that there is no commitment at all, even to eventual federation. That must be left open. I hope that that will be cleared up beyond any possible doubt in the course of the debate. [An HON. MEMBER: "By our own independent decision."] Yes, by our own independent decision.

    I draw the attention of the House, in this connection, to the proposal of the E.E.C. Assembly made in May, 1960, carried in that Assembly, for the setting up of a directly elected Parliament. This is a proposal coming from one of the three organs of the E.E.C., and which has also received powerful backing from the Commission. Where exactly do we stand on that? Is this something that is to take place whatever happens'? What is the attitude of the Ministerial Council towards it? Because, if we have a directly elected Parliament, we have taken a very long step towards a federal Europe, and, I repeat, I do not believe, whatever the future may hold, that at present British opinion is in any way ripe for such a step.

    There is another point of great importance. In his statement, the Prime Minister referred to negotiations about changes in the Treaty. Did he really mean changes in the Treaty? What is, I think, allowed under the Treaty is adaptations. This is not regarded in Europe as at all the same thing, but I think that it is of great importance to know—I do not pass final judgment on it at all—whether, for instance, the basic structure of the Community is something that could still be reviewed, or whether it is bound to be the case, if we go in, that the Commission which has this peculiar independent status, being responsible ultimately to the Assembly, but pretty well free in every other way, and very powerful indeed, should continue.

    It is very foreign, as I think all hon. Members will agree, to our ideas of the position of civil servants. The Commission is responsible to the Assembly only in the sense that on a two-thirds vote of the Assembly it can be dismissed, but it does not regard itself in any way as under the Council of Ministers. It is an independent body parallel with them. [Interruption.] I think that the Prime Minister is wrong about this, but by all means let us have it cleared up. That is all that I am asking at the moment.

    Then there is the question, if the present arrangements continue, of the allocation of votes in the Council and in the Assembly. In a short time now many more decisions will be made in the Council of Ministers by a qualified majority, in effect, something like a two-thirds majority. This is a very important point. If it appears from the allocation of votes that France and Belgium for instance, voting together, are in a position to veto any decision that might be made otherwise by the Council, but we and Denmark are not, then, I think, that would be very unsatisfactory indeed. On the other hand, if the right of veto remains with us, plus one other country—for example, Denmark or Norway; I mention them because they are close friends and they will be coming in from outside with us, if they go in—it removes some of the doubts which many people have.

    I do not take the view that one should draw an absolute line between a qualified majority system and the right of veto. Anybody who has had anything to do with international negotiations knows full well that, even where there is a veto, countries work very hard to persuade the country that wishes to stand out and in most cases the country is persuaded. I hope that, even where there is a majority system, the Council of Ministers would hesitate for a very long time before voting Great Britain down, if we enter. Nevertheless, the voting allocation is important and I should like to be assured on that point.

    I turn, thirdly, to agriculture. I will say very little about this, because the Prime Minister has covered it. I do not think that it is the major difficulty. I agree with him in this respect. I am not frightened of Continental competition for British farmers, who are quite efficient enough to stand up to it. The people who have to be protected in this case are not the farmers at all, but the consumers. It seems to be far more likely that we shall replace a system of subsidies and deficiency payments with a system of tariffs. That will mean a rise in the cost of living. We should like an assurance from the Government that, if this is so, if this is the only way, they will balance out the saving they make on the Exchequer by reducing indirect taxes, which fall heavily on poor people, and not by making further tax concessions to the wealthy.

    I turn to the question of E.F.T.A. The Government have already given a very strong pledge to E.F.T.A., which I read out the other day and which I will not repeat now. It goes much, much farther than anything we have said to the Commonwealth. We must be quite clear on that. It is a pledge that we do not break up the E.F.T.A., which we would have to do if we entered the Common Market and, therefore, will not enter the Common Market
    "till satisfactory arrangements have been worked wit in negotiations to meet the various legitimate interests."
    and so on. This goes a very long way indeed, and I do not in any way regret it. I think that it was right, but I am sorry that the actual words of this pledge were not incorporated in the Government Motion. We should like an assurance from the Government that they stand absolutely by this.

    That is why we have specially emphasised it in our Amendment. We must remember that there are several reasons for keeping relations between ourselves and the E.F.T.A. countries very strong and cordial. It would be a very great tragedy if, at this moment, we were, by our activities, to drive the neutral countries towards the East. It would equally be very unfortunate if we were to offend our closest friends, Norway and Denmark, which are likely to come with us into the Common Market. We must not forget that if negotiations fail we shall still require E.F.T.A., at least as providing something of a large market.

    Finally—and, in my view, most important of all—there is the Commonwealth. I do not propose to go into details here. The great difficulty in the economic situation remains. The very idea of switching preferences which have been in favour of the Commonwealth into preferences which are against them is very difficult to stomach. We all know how tremendously important this is in the case of Australian and New Zealand dairy produce and Canadian and Australian wheat.

    Let us not forget sugar from the West Indies, either. This is not a purely economic issue. There are moral obligations in this. It would be quite outrageous if, by going into the Common Market, we did things which seriously damaged, for instance, the extremely poverty-stricken West Indies because they lost their preferences in the sugar market.

    I welcome this categorical phrase in the Prime Minister's statement:
    "if a closer relationship between the United Kingdom and the countries of the European Economic Community were to disrupt the longstanding and historic ties between the United Kingdom and the other nations of the Commonwealth the loss would be greater than the gain."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 31st July. 1961; Vol. 645, c. 928.]
    This is certainly badly needed, because in my opinion a good deal of damage to our relations with the Commonwealth has already been done. No doubt the Ministers who went on these visits did their best. All the same, what came out of them was not exactly encouraging.

    The important point I want to emphasise is this. It is all very well to talk about consultation. It is easy to do that. The question is whether the Government will carry the Commonwealth with them. I repeat the question that I asked before. Why should we not give them the same or a similar pledge to that which we gave our E.F.T.A. partners? I know that it will be said that the position will be different and that the E.F.T.A. countries will be engaged in direct negotiations, but, whatever the Government may think, if we do not carry the Commonwealth with us it will have been disrupted. That is why we believe that by far the best way of bringing this matter to the test is the summoning of a Commonwealth Prime Ministers' conference. It would then be possible for the Prime Minister to put the whole thing before them under not unfavourable conditions, as I think he will agree, where it can be looked at as a whale.

    I do not say that we could give, or should give, a right of absolute veto on any detail to any member of the Commonwealth. That would be unreasonable. That is why we have said that the conditions should be "generally acceptable" to such a conference. If they are, a great deal of the opposition here and elsewhere to our entry into the Common Market would disappear. Even then, not all of it would disappear. There are some people who would, in any case, be against it. But many of us would be greatly relieved in our minds. On the other hand, if such approval was not forthcoming I doubt whether the Prime Minister himself would be able to carry this country into the Common Market. That is why I think it is the best way of testing the whole thing.

    Very much depends on the negotiations which are likely to take place and the spirit in which they are conducted. Very nearly all of us want a closer unity in Western Europe. We recognise the dangers of the present division. We know that it could easily become sharper and more permanent. We accept all that, and want to avoid it, but we want to avoid something else—any action on our part which would precipitate the decay and the downfall of the Commonwealth. Somehow or other both these dangers have to be avoided.

    I am encouraged by the declaration of the Six at the W.E.U. meeting, which has been published this morning, that they attribute the greatest importance to the links with the Commonwealth and that it would be contrary to the interests of the free world to weaken them. I hope that they will draw the practical conclusions from this statement, both in the economic and political fields.

    I hope that Her Majesty's Government, despite our economic weaknesses, will not approach these talks in any way in a suppliant mood, nor, on the other hand, with any idea of dominating Europe. That is not the best way to enlist the support and help of other European Governments. I hope that they will not try to solve this problem by clever formulae which are interpreted in one way by the E.F.T.A., in another way by the Six, and in another way by the Commonwealth. I hope, above all, that they will remember that the greater unity of Europe cannot be given a firm foundation on suspicions and fears in Great Britain, on anger and dismay among our other European friends, or on bitterness and disillusionment in our great multi-racial Commonwealth, of whose development we are all so proud.

    4.59 p.m.