HC Deb 06 July 1953 vol 517 cc859-60
46. Mr. Lewis

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the changed circumstances that have arisen since the original arrangements for the three-Power conference to be held in Bermuda, he will now approach President Eisenhower and the President of France with the suggestion that this conference be now held in London.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The hon. Member put this thought to my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State in his supplementary Question of 29th June. I can only say, as was said then, that his suggestion will be borne in mind.

Mr. Lewis

That was the same reply that I received before. Can the Chancellor say whether or not he has conveyed that suggestion to the Prime Minister, and whether any approach has been made to President Eisenhower, who has already expressed his willingness to go half-way? In view of the fact that this may be helpful to the Prime Minister in speeding up these discussions, will he at least ask President Eisenhower and the President of France what their views are on this matter?

Mr. Butler

I should have thought that from the tone of my answer the hon. Gentleman would have realised that his proposal was very sensible and very well received, but as it involves the movements of other persons besides those of Her Majesty's Ministers it is, therefore, clearly a matter that cannot be rushed. The hon. Gentleman can be sure that this question will be kept in mind. Indeed, it is the sort of question that may well come up at the conference at Washington.

47. Mr. A. J. Irvine

asked the Prime Minister whether Her Majesty's Government will instruct the British representatives at the forthcoming interim meeting of Ministers to urge that recent events in East Germany underline the desirability of holding early four-power talks.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The policy of Her Majesty's Government on the subject of four-Power talks on Germany, by which my noble Friend will be guided in Washington, was stated most recently in the Prime Minister's message to the German Federal Chancellor and in the Minister of State's statement of 24th June in the House.

Mr. Irvine

While thanking the Chancellor for that answer, may I ask whether he will agree that it is the view of the Government that four-Power talks should take place at an early date and that the regretted indisposition of the Prime Minister cannot be regarded as a reason for delaying the preparations for them?

Mr. Butler

The talks on Germany were actually offered on 23rd September last, so there has been no backsliding on the part of the Government. Meanwhile, we have the talks in Washington, to which, I am sure, we all wish success.