HC Deb 04 February 1942 vol 377 cc1156-7
3. Dr. Russell Thomas

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any information in regard to the Agreement made between the Governments of Greece and Yugoslavia, and the Agreement made between the Governments of Poland and Czechoslovakia which, among other matters, involves a common economic policy and the proposal for a Customs union?

Mr. Eden

As my hon. Friend is aware, the Agreement between Greece and Yugoslavia was signed in the Foreign Office on 15th January, and I am glad to have this opportunity of welcoming an Agreement which cements the friendly relations already existing between two Allied Governments and which affords a basis for a future Balkan Confederation. The text of the Agreement has already been published, and there is nothing that I can add to it.

The text of the Polish-Czechoslovak Agreement has also been published. In reply to a Question by the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Manner) on 26th November, 1940, the Prime Minister said that His Majesty's Government warmly welcomed the original Polish-Czechoslovak Declaration of 11th November, 1940. They equally welcome this new Agreement as marking a further important stage in the development of closer relations between these two Allies.

Dr. Thomas

Without attempting to make any difficulty for my right hon. Friend, may I ask whether he will be good enough, when he has consultations with the Allied Governments, to look at the point of view that economic blocks may be a hindrance to post-war trade and possibly sow the seeds of future European trouble?

Mr. Eden

It is difficult to pursue a counsel of perfection in these matters. I am convinced that the Greek-Yugoslav Agreement is very much a step in the right direction.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Are we right in thinking that it is the intention of the Governments which honour the Agreement that it shall be open to all other Balkan countries to adhere to it as soon as they have democratic and peace-loving Govern-meats? Is it their intention that this should be an organisation within a wider framework for the suppression of aggression and the maintenance of peace?

Mr. Eden

It is difficult to answer for other Governments, but what I can say for sure is that this Greek-Yugoslav Treaty is definitely to form the basis of a Balkan Confederation.