To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next plans to meet the United States Secretary of State to discuss European-American relations.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State expects to meet Secretary Baker in November when they are due to sign a declaration on EC-United States relations at the CSCE summit in Paris.
When the Foreign Secretary meets representatives of the American Government, will he discuss the question of burden sharing—something on which the Americans are quite keen—in the context of the Gulf crisis? Having discussed it with the Americans, will he then dicuss the same issue with his Cabinet colleagues and get from them some intervention in those parts of the country, particularly my constituency, where substantial contracts with Iraq have been lost as a result of sanctions and major redundancy rounds have ensued? This is a problem that affects the north-east and Scotland, but so far there has been no response about domestic burden-sharing from the British Government. When can we expect one?
The hon. Gentleman is right in one sense—the contribution that the United Kingdom has made to the international peace-keeping force in the Gulf is second only to that of the United States. We lose no opportunity to invite other like-minded Governments to make a contribution. The matter of what happens within the United Kingdom is not for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Will the Government continue to remind the United States not only of the need for self-determination for the Palestinian people but of their right to have their own state?
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has already answered that question, and it would not be wise for me to add anything to what he has said.
When the Foreign Secretary meets the United States Secretary, will he take the opportunity to discuss the recent Dublin Supreme Court decision and the constitutional imperative under which Irish Governments are required to work for a united Ireland? Will he seek the support of the United States Secretary in asking the Irish Government to remove this territorial claim and thus enable compliance with the Helsinki agreement, thereby denying the IRA and terrorists any right to exist and operate?
The British Government lose no opportunity to make clear to the United States the seriousness that we attach to IRA terrorism. As to the constitutional matter that the hon. Gentleman raised in connection with the Helsinki agreement, it would not be right for the United States to intervene in the constitution of a foreign state.
Does my hon. Friend recall Winston Churchill's statement that the supreme fact of the 20th century is that Britain and America have marched together upon the basis of shared values" Does he further recall that at the time of the Gulf crisis on 2 August and in the following weeks it was Britain and America who stood together to prevent Saddam Hussein from taking up the position that he would undoubtedly hold at the moment, had he been allowed to do so—that is to be in Saudi Arabia? Does he further agree that the most important action that we have to take is to encourage our European partners to play a full part in making sure that we maintain peace in the middle east?
I agree with my hon. Friend that our alliance with the United States, through NATO, must remain the mainstay of our position. That does not run counter to our wish for a closer co-ordination of security and foreign policy within the Community. My hon. Friend, however, is absolutely right, that our relationship with the United States is crucial to the United Kingdom in terms of both defence and other matters.