HC Deb 28 April 1948 vol 450 cc392-3
45. Mr. Marlowe

asked the Prime Minister what are the difficulties in the way of convening a conference of Dominion Prime Ministers; and what steps have been taken to overcome such difficulties.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Thick and Malton (Mr. Turton) on 11th March. In that reply I had in mind the standing difficulty of finding a time at which all the Prime Ministers concerned, who have heavy domestic responsibilities to carry, would be available and willing to come to London for a meeting. This is a particularly important consideration at the present time, when the pressure affairs on Ministers generally, and in particular on Prime Ministers, is very heavy.

Mr. Marlowe

Would the right hon. Gentleman say whether he is sympathetic to the idea of such a conference if the difficulties could be overcome, and, if so, would he consider sending a representative to each of the Prime Ministers concerned to see whether these difficulties can be smoothed out?

The Prime Minister

I am certainly sympathetic, but I do not think any good would come of sending representatives. We are in constant communication with Dominion Prime Ministers on this matter.

Mr. Turton

Are we to understand from the reply we have had today, and also from the previous reply to a similar Question, that the Prime Minister has already approached the Dominion Prime Ministers on this matter.

The Prime Minister

There has been no formal approach, but conversations are going on with regard to the possibilities. We always have in mind a meeting of the Dominion Prime Ministers, but I cannot say anything more definite at the present time.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Can the Prime Minister foresee any time when the considerations he has mentioned will not apply?

The Prime Minister

It is very difficult, but we have in the past managed to do it and no doubt we shall manage it again. If hon. Members would realise what the conditions are in the different Dominions, with elections pending and so forth, they would see that it is extremely hard to get a suitable time.