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Volume 959: debated on Thursday 30 November 1978

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asked the Prime Minister if he will seek to pay an official visit to Vienna.

But has the Prime Minister studied the recent Austrian referendum on nuclear power? Will he take this opportunity to reiterate the Government's promise that a public inquiry will be held into a fast-breeder reactor if an application to build another one is made? Furthermore, will he extend that public relations exercise to a genuine one—

The hon. Member for Truro (Mr. Penhaligon) must relate his question to Vienna. We are not on the broad issue of policy here. Open questions come later. This Question is about a visit to Vienna.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Austrians held a referendum on the question of nuclear power.

The hon. Member for Truro was referring to something in this country, I believe.

May I say to the hon. Member for Truro, if it will help him, that I shall be very glad indeed to pay an official visit to Vienna. He might care to come with me and see what success a Labour Government have in that country.

Has my right hon. Friend noticed that the proposals tabled by the Soviet Union at the Vienna talks on 8th June of this year have not yet been replied to? Since the Foreign Office described them as very constructive two or three months ago, does not my right hon. Friend think that it is time we took some initiative, especially as he spoke so strongly about the necessity to advance these talks, when speaking at the Special Session of the United Nations?

There, is unfortunately, always a long interval between the replies that Governments make to each other at these international conferences. The Soviet Union took rather a long time to reply to the propositions that the West had put forward. One of the basic difficulties here is that the Soviet Union insists that in the central area of Europe manpower is roughly the same on both sides. That proposition is not accepted by the West. We believe that Soviet armed manpower is far larger than that of the West, and we have to try to get the data right before we can get further on negotiations.