HC Deb 14 February 1949 vol 461 cc764-7
9. Mr. Warbey

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it is intended that the proposed Atlantic Pact shall be a regional security arrangement within the terms and conditions of the arrangements laid down in Articles 52 to 54 of the United Nations Charter.

Mr. McNeil

Although it is not yet certain what form the North Atlantic Pact will eventually take, I can assure my hon. Friend that it will be consistent with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

Mr. Warbey

Will my right hon. Friend answer the specific Question which I put down, as to whether it will be a regional arrangement within the terms laid down in the Charter governing regional arrangements; and whether his vagueness today overrules the precise statement he made last Monday that Article 52 was the basis of the proposed Pact?

Mr. McNeil

My hon. Friend does not recapitulate his own Question. I was not asked if it was in conformity with the regional arrangements in the Charter but whether it was in conformity with three of the Articles. My reply is that the Pact is in conformity with the intention and with the relevant Articles of the Charter.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that this country will enter into no military commitments under this Pact before similar military commitments are entered into by the United States of America?

Mr. McNeil

Perhaps my hon. Friend will await the opportunity of the draft Pact being made available to the House.

10. Mr. Warbey

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when hon. Members of the British House of Commons will have an opportunity of seeing the draft of the proposed Atlantic Pact which has been shown to leaders of the American Congress.

Mr. McNeil

No final text of the North Atlantic Pact has yet been agreed, but my right hon. Friend is anxious to assure the House that as soon as the state of the negotiations permits hon. Members will be informed of what is proposed.

11. Mr. Thomas Reid

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if Eire is to be invited to join the discussions on the Atlantic Pact.

Mr. McNeil

It is not possible in the present state of negotiations to say which countries will eventually be invited to join the North Atlantic Pact.

Mr. Reid

Is not the defence of Eire an important item in the defence of Western Europe, and is it the intention of Eire to defend herself unaided?

21. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what proposals have been made by the Government of the United States to His Majesty's Government as to the inclusion in the proposed Atlantic Pact of provisions for military aid; and as to the conditions to be fulfilled before the Pact comes into force.

Mr. McNeil

During the discussions of the proposed North Atlantic Pact, no proposals of the kind described by my hon. Friend have been made, nor has there been any suggestion of conditions to be fulfilled by this country before a Pact may come into force, except of course a general clause applicable to all adherents concerning ratification.

Mr. Hughes

Will the Minister tell us what military commitments have been entered into by His Majesty's Government which have not been entered into by the United States Government?

Mr. McNeil

No Government involved in the discussions, either this Government or any other, have yet committed themselves to any military obligations. If my hon. Friend is afraid that His Majesty's Government will not properly protect the position of this country, he may be assured that they will do it as well as he does.

Mr. R. A. Butler

In view of the many reports which are circulating in the Press on the subject of the proposed Atlantic Pact, and in view of his earlier answer, would the right hon. Gentleman tell us how soon he will be able to give the House some information on this subject, so that hon. Members may be as fully informed as certain Members of Congress?

Mr. McNeil

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not think me unhelpful, but I will do it as quickly as possible. I should not think it would be long, but I could not honestly commit myself to a precise period at this stage.

Mr. Blackburn

Is the Minister aware in this connection that there is in this country a widespread admiration for the courageous statesmanship of the Norwegian Government and the Norwegian Labour Party?