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European Economic Community

Volume 656: debated on Monday 19 March 1962

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asked the Lord Privy-Seal, in the light of the further Ministerial meeting he has held with the European Economic Community, whether he will now negotiate for protocols which shall not be subject to a time limit, to be added to the Treaty of Rome for the purpose of safeguarding the interests of Commonwealth and British agriculture.

The special arrangements for Commonwealth and British agriculture for which we have asked concern both the transitional and the Common Market periods under the Treaty of Rome.

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the deep concern caused in Commonwealth trade circles by the statement of Dr. Adenauer that in the event of our joining the Common Market our ties with the Commonwealth will have to be loosened and the statement of the French Minister of Agriculture that the safeguards my right hon. Friend is attempting to obtain for Commonwealth agricultural produce are a complete negation of the Common Market Treaty? In view of this, will my night hon. Friend now issue a categorical statement that the safeguards he is attempting to obtain will be of a nature which cannot be decreased or eliminated by future actions of the Common Market?

In order that the whole House may consider this question and answer in correct perspective, will the Lord Privy Seal consider inserting in the OFFICIAL REPORT the statement made by Dr. Adenauer to which the hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. Walker) has just referred.

I do not think that it would be in order to provide that material for the OFFICIAL REPORT and ask for it to be repeated. I understand that there are different versions of what Dr. Adenauer said. In any case the ones which I have seen reflect a misunderstanding of the nature of the Commonwealth.

Does not the Lord Privy Seal realise that his answer to the supplementary question asked by the hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. Walker) was not quite adequate? Is it not profoundly unsatisfactory when Heads of Governments and Ministers in other Governments who are parties to these negotiations make statements of this kind and Her Majesty's Government appear to be completely unwilling to say anything? Is not the right hon. Gentleman justified, regardless of the merits of the case, in making it plain that we cannot accept this kind of thing from Dr. Adenauer and the French Minister of Agriculture?

I think the right hon. Gentleman will realise that in negotiations it would be more helpful if public statements were not made, but I am not responsible for statements made by Heads of Government of by Ministers of other countries. I have stated the position in the negotiations of Her Majesty's Government, which is clearly stated in the Paris Statement, and I have again repeated it in answer to my hon. Friend's Question.