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European Security And Co-Operation

Volume 894: debated on Wednesday 25 June 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the latest progress on the CSCE.

This matter was considered by the Foreign Ministers at their meeting in Luxembourg yesterday. They issued the following statement:

"The Foreign Ministers of the Nine are willing to complete the work of the conference as soon as possible. Taking into account the substantial progress accomplished on numerous subjects, they think that it is now both desirable and feasible to complete the negotiations in Geneva so that the third phase can take place in Helsinki by the end of July.
The realisation of this hope depends on all delegations as hitherto accelerating their work and their efforts so that general agreement may be reached on all outstanding questions. The Nine, for their part, are ready to make every effort to contribute to this end."

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that reply. Although believing myself that the balance of advantage lies just with the West in these talks, and congratulating the right hon. Gentleman and his Department on the skilful contribution they have made to these talks may I ask him to confirm that any result- ing documents will in no way whatsoever give new approval or recognition in international law to frontiers emerging as a result of the Second World War? Will he also say how confident he is that the principles of non-intervention set out in Basket I will be regarded by the Soviet Union as superior to the Brezhnev doctrine?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for what he said. The documents will be political and not legal documents, but they will have considerable significance, even though they are political documents.

As to non-intervention, there has been a great deal of discussion about the phraseology of these matters, and I hope that the hon. Gentleman will find it satisfactory when he sees the final version. I should not like to pronounce on the exact legal status, except in the context of what I have already said.

I am grateful to the Foreign Secretary for making what is an important statement about the progress of this conference. Surely he appreciates that the House needs and wants to know——

I was about to ask: will the right hon. Gentleman take an opportunity, before any final agreement is reached in Helsinki, to provide the House with a good deal more information, so that we may discuss this important matter, which could transform the political and, indeed, the security scene of Europe, if, as we all hope, it is successful?

The documents are in a state of final preparation but are by no means completed. They then have to be officially translated, and the work will take a great deal of time. I shall try to lay them before the House as quickly as possible. They are all bound to be completed before we go to Helsinki.