HC Deb 07 December 1955 vol 547 cc351-2
1. Mr. J. R. H. Hutchison

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what agreements have been concluded between this country and the European Coal and Steel Community, following the meeting of the Council of Association.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. R. H. Turton)

As my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Board of Trade, informed the House on 22nd November, the first meeting of the Council of Association was primarily concerned with setting up machinery for consultation. No question of making agreements has yet arisen.

Mr. Hutchison

In view of the fact that this Association has the duty and responsibility not only of discussing but also of taking action, could my right hon. Friend say by what process the House will be informed of any action taken—action which may be of considerable importance to the trade and industry of the country?

Mr. Turton

We must first wait until the committees that have been appointed have had their deliberations, and then we will see what action is recommended.

Mr. Wade

Are the committees advisory only or have they any wider functions? Following the previous supplementary question, may I ask whether any recommendations made by these committees will be reported to this House?

Mr. Turton

The committees which are to examine the position are standing committees, and they will, no doubt, publish their reports to the body that established them. It is for the Council of Association to determine what publicity it should give to the recommendations of the committees. It is not our function.

Mr. Chetwynd

Will the right hon. Gentleman pursue the question of joining Members of this House with members of the Common Assembly under one of the committees of the Council of Association?

Mr. Turton

That is not a matter for Her Majesty's Government. It is a matter for the Council of Association which set up the standing committees.