HC Deb 25 January 1955 vol 536 cc24-6
45. Mr. Dodds

asked the Prime Minister what progress he has made in arranging a meeting with Mr. Malenkov.

47. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Prime Minister what further steps he has taken since 1st November, 1954, towards inviting or arranging an interview between himself and Mr. Malenkov.

The Prime Minister (Sir Winston Churchill)

I have nothing to add to my earlier expressions of willingness to meet Mr. Malenkov at some agreed place if the right time and occasion are found.

Mr. Dodds

As the Soviet declaration of 15th January has created a new situation, does not the Prime Minister think that it is about time that he employed full personal attention in easing international tension? Will he not, before it is too late, do what he said he wanted to do years ago—and that is to have high-level talks as soon as possible?

The Prime Minister

I am afraid I cannot add to what I have just said.

Mr. Shinwell

Does not the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that, in the present state of international tension, which is not lessening but rather seems to be increasing, particularly in the Far East, he ought to give his very best attention to the possibility of having a meeting of this kind? Is it sufficient to say that he has nothing to add to previous answers? Has the situation not changed?

The Prime Minister

The Far East was not one of the topics which we were likely to have opened had we met.

Mr. Hughes

As the Prime Minister has more than once indicated, very properly if I may say so, that such conversations should be preceded by adequate preparation, will he tell the House what preparation he has made with a view to having such high-level conversations?

The Prime Minister

It has riot yet got out of the stage of careful consideration.

Mr. Shinwell

Do I understand from the right hon. Gentleman that the present situation in the Far East is not grave enough to warrant his consideration of this matter? Is he conscious, as indeed he must be, of the fact that the United States seems to be proceeding on its own without regard to the opinions of people in other countries?

The Prime Minister

There are a lot of grave situations, but I do not conceive that a meeting of this character on the Far East between me and Mr. Malenkov would be likely to yield favourable results at the present time.