HC Deb 19 January 1954 vol 522 cc834-5
48. Mr. Dodds

asked the Prime Minister if he is aware of the disagreements between the Four-Power representatives in Berlin over deciding in which building the Big Four talks should take place; and what instructions have been given to the British representative as to his attitude to this question.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Anthony Eden)

I have been asked to reply.

The hon. Gentleman will have seen the announcement that agreement has been reached between the representatives of the Four Powers in Berlin as to the buildings in which the meetings of the four Foreign Ministers should take place.

Mr. Dodds

I have, but is the right hon. Gentleman aware that people have been gravely disturbed at the great length of time which was taken in dealing with this very trivial matter? Does he recall that some weeks ago in the House he got a very fine reception when he said it was our aim to meet the Russians at any time and any place? Why should our representatives in Berlin not follow that line? Does he not think there is not much hope for the future unless some one acts sensibly in small matters of this sort?

Mr. Eden

I disagree with the hon. Member; we are meeting at the time the Russians have chosen and at the place the Russians have chosen, so that they can be satisfied that what I said has been entirely fulfilled. But I have to consider whether the building is a practical one, whether the arrangements can be made and whether it is suitable for all purposes. As for the 40-hour discussions, hon. Members who have had experience of these international gatherings will know that if we have consecutive translations things take a very long time indeed. One thing I want is simultaneous translations, which I cannot have in a series of buildings scattered around Berlin.

Mr. Marlowe

What guarantee has the House that the hon. Member who asked the Question really is the hon. Member for Dartford?