HC Deb 28 October 1943 vol 393 cc374-5
45. Sir John Wardlaw-Milne

asked the Prime Minister whether he has considered the letter from the hon. Member for Kidderminster, dated 21st October, regarding the resolutions of the United States Senate and House of Representatives in June and July last in connection with the visit of Congress representatives to Ottawa; and whether he has any statement to make?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill)

I am very glad to have this opportunity of saying a few words about the Conference which on the invitation of the Canadian branch of the Empire Parliamentary Association recently took place at Ottawa between delegations from the branches of the Association in Canada, the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand and Bermuda. A notable feature of the meeting to which my hon. Friend has drawn attention, was the presence of members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives of the United States of America.

The informal discussions in Canada, some of which were attended by the United States delegation, afforded a valuable opportunity for exchange of private and quite unofficial views on matters of great interest, covering both defence and international problems of the British Commonwealth and Empire and also questions of relations between members of the Commonwealth and the United States in war and in peace. The United Kingdom delegation also had an opportunity while in Canada of discussions with the Canadian and Provincial Prime Ministers and of seeing evidences of Canada's war effort in both defence and aggressive operations and in the industrial sphere, for which we express our gratitude. These meetings were followed by a visit of certain members of the delegation to Washington, where they attended the Senate and House of Representatives and also met a number of members of Congress personally, and in addition they paid a visit to Bermuda. Everywhere they received the most cordial welcome and generous hospitality.

Apart from its value as a means of personal contact and interchange of opinion between representatives of the different members of the British Commonwealth, which is of such importance to our mutual relations, this Conference was of historic significance as being the first occasion on which representatives of the United States of America had taken part in such a gathering. I am sure that I am voicing the feelings of the House in expressing our obligations to all those, whether in Canada or in the other countries concerned, who by their organisation of the Conference and their interest in its proceedings helped to contribute to its success, as well as of course to all those who took part in its deliberations. I should also like to express our thanks to all those in both Canada and the United States who accorded such open-handed hospitality to these visitors from overseas. In all these events we can see a happy augury of fellowship and mutual understanding in the days when after victory we face together the problems of peace.