HC Deb 08 July 1954 vol 529 cc2340-1
47. Mr. Edelman

asked the Prime Minister whether, following his discussion with President Eisenhower on South-East Asia and the European Defence Community, he will invite the French Prime Minister to London in order to coordinate British, United States and French policy.

48. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Prime Minister whether he will now invite the French Prime Minister to London to discuss British policy towards the European Defence Community Treaty.

The Prime Minister

Both before and since the visit of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary to Paris for talks with the French Prime Minister on 20th June, we have maintained the closest contact with the French Government. This contact will, of course, continue. Much though I should welcome a meeting myself with Monsieur Mendès-France, I would not feel justified in pressing him, at the present time, while he has so many urgent problems to occupy him.

Mr. Edelman

While thanking the Prime Minister for that reply, may I ask him whether it might not be for the general convenience if a personal meeting of that kind could be held before 20th July?

The Prime Minister

The Foreign Secretary will be meeting M. Mendès-France after Monday at Geneva.

Mr. Wyatt

Does not the Prime Minister think that, now at last there is a French Government with a Prime Minister who looks like achieving stability—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—it would be better to talk to him about possible variants of the European Defence Community Treaty rather than to issue a communiqué together with President Eisenhower telling him to do something which he says he cannot do and which the French Parliament will not let him do?

The Prime Minister

That is a matter of opinion which is not included in the Question on the Order Paper.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Will the Prime Minister tell the French Prime Minister that in view of his very gallant part in the R.A.F. during the war he will be a very welcome visitor to London when he can afford the time to come?

The Prime Minister

No doubt his attention will be drawn to the right hon. Gentleman's very apposite question.