HC Deb 21 March 1955 vol 538 cc1725-7
23. Mr. Warbey

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what further progress has been made towards the conclusion of an Austrian treaty.

38. Mr. Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the new proposals of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, he will now make renewed efforts to conclude a peace treaty for Austria.

Mr. Nutting

Her Majesty's Government have still received no clarification from the Soviet Government of their position in reply to Her Majesty's Government's Note of 29th November. As the House is aware, there has recently been an exchange of views in Moscow between the Soviet Foreign Minister and the Austrian Ambassador. These exchanges, of which we have been informed by the Austrian Government, were the subject of statements by the Soviet Government on 11th March and by the Austrian Government on 16th March. I am arranging for copies of these statements to be placed in the Library of the House.

Her Majesty's Government reaffirmed on 2nd March their desire to proceed as soon as possible to the signature of the Austrian State Treaty and the termination of the occupation and the withdrawal of foreign troops. I much regret that Mr. Molotov's exchanges with the Austrian Ambassador suggest that the Soviet Government is more intent on posing new conditions to the Austrian Government than on concluding the Treaty with them.

Mr. Warbey

Is not it clear from these exchanges that the only possible difference between the Russians and the Western Powers now on the Austrian Treaty is the question of guarantees against a possible German Anschluss? Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Government would be prepared to enter into a conference with a view to signing the Treaty and giving quadripartite guarantees against an Anschluss?

Mr. Nutting

There would be no purpose in entering into a conference to deal with the question of an Anschluss which is already prohibited specifically in an Article under the Austrian State Treaty.

Mr. Hamilton

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the proposals made by the Government at the Berlin Conference on the Austrian Treaty still hold good, and whether the Government intend to stand fast on the question of an Austrian peace treaty until after the completion of ratification of the Paris Agreements?

Mr. Nutting

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for the first part of his supplementary question. The position of Her Majesty's Government remains as stated at the Berlin Conference on the Austrian State Treaty. As to the question of a conference before ratification of the Paris Agreements, I see no useful purpose whatever in holding such a conference until the Soviet Government have clarified their position. So far all they have done is to offer further prevarication.

Mr. Mott-Radclyffe

Is not it a fact that all the original Soviet objections to the outstanding clauses of the Treaty have been met, and that all that is required now is a little goodwill on the part of the Soviet Union in the signing of the Treaty?

Mr. Nutting

My hon. Friend is perfectly correct. All that is required now is a Soviet signature to the Treaty which they themselves brought to the Berlin Conference.