HC Deb 02 March 1953 vol 512 cc25-6
25. Mr. Philips Price

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the recent discussions in Rome over the protocols of the French Government in the European Defence Community respecting the conditions of French military participation in European defence, he will now state what measures are to be adopted for closer co-operation between the United Kingdom and the European Defence Community.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

No, Sir. I have nothing to add to the answer which my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Aston (Mr. Wyatt) on 23rd February or to his answer to the supplementary question of the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Philips Price) on 16th February.

Mr. Philips Price

Seeing that the French protocols seem to indicate an approach towards our point of view, is it not an opportunity to press this matter to a solution?

Mr. Lloyd

I do not disagree at all with what the hon. Member has said, but these relationships are matters for discussion by the six E.D.C. Governments, and not only by the French Government. Our proposals on this matter have already been circulated to the E.D.C. Governments and are now being considered by the Interim Commission.

Mr. Wyatt

Have the Government replied to the very reasonable proposals made in the questionnaire when the French Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary were in London? Why cannot we be told what the French proposals were in detail and what our reply has been? This is a vital matter which, in 10 days, will be decided one way or the other.

Mr. Lloyd

These are matters for negotiation among the Governments concerned. The French Government did make suggestions, and our reply has been given to the French Government. The date of publication of the reply surely is a matter for the French Government.

Mr. Noel-Baker

We fully realise that not everything can be published, but will the Minister of State consider that the people of this country may have to make a very important decision in this matter and that the sooner they can know what our Government propose the easier it will be for them to make up their minds?

Mr. Lloyd

I do not quarrel with the supplementary question of the right hon. Gentleman.