HC Deb 20 May 1953 vol 515 cc2070-2
46. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Prime Minister whether he will, at an early date, invite President Eisenhower to London so that he may hold personal talks with him in order that the present differences of approach between Britain and the United States of America towards the international situation may be reconciled.

The Prime Minister

Few things would give more pleasure to Her Majesty's Government and the British people than that President Eisenhower should visit us in this Island, as he so often did during the war, and I earnestly hope that this great event may occur during his tenure of the Presidency of the United States. If I thought that there was any chance of his being able to detach himself in the near future from the great responsibilities he has—[HON. MEMBERS: "McCarthy."] I did not drag him in. I think it is a great mistake, if I may say so as I am interrupted, to mix up the head of the great American Republic with a politician or a member of Congress in that country. I think separation should be observed in view of the entirely different character of the offices held by the parties concerned. May I read on with this rather important Question—or important answer?

If I thought there was any chance of his being able to detach himself at this moment from the great responsibilities he has so recently assumed, I should certainly make the necessary submission to the Queen so that an invitation could be sent from one head of a State to another.

I certainly do not feel that differences of view or emphasis between Britain and the United States at the present time would in any way require or justify a procedure of such magnitude. If and when the President of the United States visits Great Britain I trust the cause will be the vast, vital body of agreement throughout the English-speaking world and not be occasioned or occupied by discussion of the kind of divergencies of method which naturally arise between friends and allies when faced with practical issues of a complex and changing character.

Mr. Wyatt

If the Prime Minister does not mind my asking him a supplementary question since he seems rather to resent it, may I ask whether he does not think that it would be an essential preliminary to there being a great Power conference for him first of all to have talked to President Eisenhower so that the very obvious disagreements that we are having at the moment, over our policy in the Far East in particular, should be resolved before we met the Russians?

The Prime Minister

I really think the Government of the day must have some latitude in these matters.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Is the Prime Minister considering what has been put to him many times from this side of the House —that on matters of very great urgency which affect the peace of the world the machinery of consultation between the United States and other members of the United Nations is not at present working well, and has he proposals for its improvement?

The Prime Minister

I think it is working very well. I have seen a lot of it and I think our relations are as intimate and as friendly as they have ever been, but there are some difficulties caused by differences of opinion—quite reasonable differences of opinion—which have to be settled, and I am sure that they can be settled in the regular way especially in view of the personal friendly contacts which exist.