§ 41. Mr. A. Henderson
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement on the contents of the latest Soviet Note.
§ Mr. Eden
In this House on 5th November I said, with reference to the Soviet Note of 3rd November, that we were prepared to discuss Germany and Austria with the Russians at any time and place and without prior conditions. As I read the Soviet Note of 26th November, it means that the Soviet Government are prepared to meet us without conditions. I am still in consultation with the other Governments to whom the Soviet Note was also addressed. These exchanges are 759 however, proceeding rapidly and satisfactorily and it is the hope of Her Majesty's Government that it will now be possible to arrange a meeting of the four Foreign Ministers at an early date.
§ Mr. Wyatt
Will the Foreign Secretary bear in mind that it is very important, in view of the somewhat discouraging reaction in Washington, to emphasise that now that the Soviet Union have at last agreed to meet us, after having been pressed to do so. we should not begin by forecasting no result from a conference for which we have been asking?
§ Mr. H. Morrison
Has the right hon. Gentleman seen the Press reports attributed to the Secretary of State of the United States, which give a contrary impression? Will the Government do all that they can to bring the United States into agreement with us, and will this be among the subjects to be discussed at Bermuda, so that the Western Powers may come to a common agreement which, one would hope, would be on the lines intimated by the right hon. Gentleman?
§ Mr. Henderson
In view of the reference in the Russian Note to the need for a five-Power Conference, would the Foreign Secretary say whether, at the proposed conference on Korea, it is intended that it should be at Foreign Ministers' level, because, if so, would that not provide an opportunity for the Foreign Ministers of the Western countries to meet the Foreign Ministers of both Russia and China?
§ Mr. Eden
I should like to think that out. As I understand the right hon. and learned Gentleman's proposition it would mean that we would have to be in two places at once. If the Korean conference and the other conference met at the same time that would clearly be the answer. What we are anxious to do is to make progress with the Korean conference and get that settled, and I should not like to make that dependent upon whatever date is agreed for the four Foreign Ministers to meet.
§ 42. Mr. Beswick
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the fact that a meeting between the heads of the four great Powers is still an objective of Her Majesty's Government has been conveyed to the Soviet authorities through the usual diplomatic channels.
§ Mr. Beswick
The answer which the right hon. Gentleman then gave was that he hoped to have such a meeting. Cannot he say that he usually gives statements of that kind to the people to whom he intends them to go—to the Powers concerned—and not simply in answer to a Question in this House?