HC Deb 20 October 1953 vol 518 cc1806-7
51. Mr. Donnelly

asked the Prime Minister whether he will publish as a White Paper the cables which went between the Acting Foreign Secretary and the Cabinet during the Washington Conference.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir.

Mr. Donnelly

Is it not a fact, as my hon. Friend the Member for Devonport (Mr. Foot) has said, that an official French statement has accused a senior Minister of the Crown of not telling the truth about the Washington talks? In view of the fact that that Minister is not in the House of Commons and therefore is not answerable to the House of Commons, is there no way whereby we can have a full statement on a situation where this Minister's integrity is impugned?

The Prime Minister

If accusing Ministers of not telling the truth were to be accepted as a pretext for publishing all kinds of secret Foreign Office communications, I think very awkward situations might easily arise.

Mr. McNeil

Since a much larger point is at issue than whether or not an accusation against a Minister is justified, will the Prime Minister not agree that, since our allies the French Government seem not to be informed in the same terms as the right hon. Gentleman about the conduct of business at Washington, this point ought to be cleared by an unambiguous statement by the right hon. Gentleman now?

The Prime Minister

I do not know what particular action is called for from me. I made a statement to clear up some, as I thought, statements which might lead to misunderstanding when I was abroad, and full explanations have been made of their position by the French. Since then I have had the opportunity of talking things over with M. Bidault himself.