HC Deb 25 January 1954 vol 522 cc1430-1
5. Lady Tweedsmuir

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement on the proposals made by M. Monnet for closer association between Great Britain and the Steel and Coal Community.

6. Mrs. White

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what response he has made to the proposals for the closer association of the United Kingdom with the European Coal and Steel Authority.

8. Mr. Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is yet in a position to make a statement on the invitation received by Her Majesty's Government from the European Coal and Steel Community inviting the United Kingdom to establish closer associations with the Community; and whether he will give an assurance that he will refuse consent to any proposal likely to jeopardise the well-being of our coal industry and the workers engaged in it.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

I have nothing to add at present to my right hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. de Freitas) on 21st January.

Lady Tweedsmuir

Has my hon. Friend considered publishing a White Paper on these proposals? Is he of the opinion that the time has come to enter into direct treaty negotiations with the Coal and Steel Community in order to safeguard our own industries, or is he of the opinion that nothing should be done?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

All these points are now being carefully considered. This is a very big and a very wide proposition that has been put forward and it has required the most careful study by very many interests.

Mrs. White

Will the hon. Gentleman give an assurance that we can have a White Paper laid before us on this very complex matter, which is of the utmost importance to two of our major industries? Can he ask the Leader of the House if we may have an opportunity of debating these far-reaching proposals?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

A White Paper will certainly be considered and there will be opportunities of debating the matter before a final decision is taken.

Mr. Hamilton

What consultations have taken place with the trade unions concerned, or what consultations do the Government intend having with them?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

I cannot give details of what consultations are taking place because they are taking place with all sections of industry concerned.