HC Deb 21 January 1953 vol 510 cc202-4
39. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the statement on 14th December by Lord Ismay, Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Council, that no information has been received by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to suggest that the international situation is less serious than it was last February, Her Majesty's Government will make available to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation the information on which they base their belief that the danger of war receded during last year.

Mr. Eden

Her Majesty's Government make available to the North Atlantic Council all the information at their disposal which relates to the matters with which it is concerned.

Mr. Wyatt

Can the Foreign Secretary account for the fact that though he and the Prime Minister think the danger of war is receding, General Ridgway and Lord Ismay think that it is not? Is not it about time there was some meeting between the two groups so that they may make up their minds whether it is receding or not?

Mr. Eden

I do not think there is any dispute. Had the hon. Gentleman been good enough to endure my broadcast the other night he would have heard that I said: When we say that the risk of general war seems to have receded, it is because we ourselves have grown stronger and more united. That is all. If we were to weaken, we should lose what we have gained. I do not think anybody would dispute that as an accurate statement.

Mr. Shinwell

But if the Government convey this information to the North Atlantic Treaty Council and Organisation is there any reason why it should not simultaneously, or at some stage, be conveyed to this House so that we could know all the facts?

Mr. Eden

The right hon. Gentleman must know the answer to that; he must recollect that a very large amount of secret information is conveyed to the Organisation where we as Allies exchange all the military information at our disposal. It would be quite beyond reason to suggest that all that information could be made public.

Mr. Gaitskell

Are we then to understand that the reasons why Her Majesty's Government believe that the dangers of war have receded are secret reasons and cannot be conveyed to this House? If not. why should not the House of Commons be informed?

Mr. Eden

I do not want to repeat to the right hon. Gentleman what I said in the broadcast, but I will if he wishes. I said that the risk of general war seems to have receded because we have grown stronger, and although we are not as strong as we could wish, there is no disputing that we are stronger than we were a year ago.