HC Deb 05 December 1945 vol 416 cc2316-7
39. Mr. Wilson Harris

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Council of Five Foreign Ministers whose establishment was announced in the communiqué of the Potsdam Conference on 2nd August is in being; whether its joint secretariat has been set up in London as contemplated in the Potsdam communiqué; on what work the secretariat is now engaged; what are the arrangements, referred to in the same communiqué, for periodic consultation between the Foreign Ministers of the U.S.A., the U.S.S.R. and the United Kingdom; and whether any meeting of the five or the three is expected in the near future.

Mr. Bevin

The Council of Foreign Ministers stands adjourned, but remains in being. No permanent point secretariat has been set up. The Foreign Ministers of the United States of America, the U.S.S.R. and the United Kingdom have been in constant touch, but no arrangements have been made for a further meeting.

Mr. Wilson Harris

I do not desire to press the right hon. Gentleman further than he wants to go, and it would make very little difference if I did, but does he take the view that the time has come already to hand over to the United Nations Organisation the tasks which it was understood were in the hands of the Council of Five?

Mr. Bevin

I think there are some matters outstanding between countries which cannot be handed to the United Nations and must be settled by direct talks between countries.

Sir Arthur Salter

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether, for example, the question of the atomic communiqué is to a matter of consultation especially with Russia before it is sent to the 5.1 nations in January?

Mr. Bevin

I must have notice of that question.

Mr. Cocks

In order that the machinery may begin to function, is it not necessary to make a special effort to solve differences between ourselves and Russia instead of allowing the two countries slowly to drift apart?

Mr. Bevin

I do not accept that they are drifting apart. Sometimes friendship grows stronger if you do not meet quite so often.