HC Deb 23 February 1953 vol 511 cc1701-2
6. Mr. H. Hynd

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will now make a statement about British adherence to the Schuman Plan; and whether the British Mission to Luxembourg has yet reported on progress already achieved.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Anthony Nutting)

Although the United Kingdom cannot become a member of the European Coal and Steel Community, Her Majesty's Government have made clear on a number of occasions their desire to establish the closest possible association with it. Practical co-operation with the High Authority has been achieved by the establishment of a United Kingdom Delegation at Luxembourg which reports regularly upon the progress of the Community.

Mr. Hynd

Why does the hon. Gentleman say so definitely that the United Kingdom cannot become a member? Are the Government studying the remarkable progress which is being made in regard to the Schuman Plan and taking precautions in case British industry finds itself up against a very serious competitor?

Mr. Nutting

It really does not lie in the mouth of any hon. Member opposite to criticise Her Majesty's present Government for not taking any part in the Coal and Steel Community. It might also not have escaped the attention of the hon. Member that the Coal and Steel Community, as indeed the Defence Community, is intended to be the forerunner of a European Federation which organisation we could not join.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Will the hon. Gentleman consider giving us a White Paper about the present development and work of the High Authority itself and about the practical relations of our delegation with that Authority?

Mr. Nutting

I will certainly consider that. I do not know whether it would be too early to give very much real information to the House about the working of our relationship, but I will certainly consider that.

Mr. Brooman-White

Is my hon. Friend aware that in the steel-producing areas there is widespread hope that practical working arrangements with the High Authority will be concluded as soon as possible and that they have considerable confidence in that particular Mission to achieve that?

Mr. Nutting

There is already a practical working arrangement, but we should prefer to wait for a while to see how it develops before considering any further development towards linking up.