HC Deb 08 December 1952 vol 509 cc5-6
6. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a report on the progress of the negotiations with the Bonn Government on the disposal of Herr Alfred Krupp's assets in the German coal and steel industries.

Mr. Eden

The negotiations to which I referred in my reply to the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Sorensen) and the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) on 1st December are still in progress, and I have no further report to make at present.

Mrs. Castle

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that considerable alarm has been caused by a report in the Press that the negotiations have broken down and that the Bonn Government were being very difficult over this matter? Will he make a full report to the House on the progress of these important negotiations, so that we can know what are the issues involved?

Mr. Eden

I can tell the hon. Lady that the negotiations have not broken down. The moment they reach a point at which I can usefully make a report to the House I shall certainly do so. They are, in point of fact, taking place with the Federal Chancellor himself. I cannot say any more today.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Will the right hon. Gentleman bring it home to Dr. Adenauer that the friends of German democracy in other countries are very anxious about this matter?

Mr. Eden

I am sure Dr. Adenauer understands that very well and also knows quite well that it is not the fault of Her Majesty's present advisers that we have this very difficult matter to handle.

Mr. E. Fletcher

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that although he speaks of negotiations the fact is that until the Bonn Treaty is ratified Her Majesty's Government are in a position to insist on a solution of this matter acceptable to British public opinion?

Mr. Eden

I should like to see that question on the Order Paper. I do not imagine that the hon. Member would suggest we can now insist on an alteration of the German Basic Law, which has been in force for some years and to which no amendment was suggested by the late Government.

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