HC Deb 24 March 1955 vol 538 cc2268-9
46. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Prime Minister how far the text of the recent correspondence between himself and Mr. Molotov, now published by the Soviet Government, is a correct and complete version of the exchanges between himself and the Soviet Government on the subject of talks between political heads of States; and whether the Soviet Government asked his permission before publication.

The Prime Minister

Sir, I am informed that the Russian text of the correspondence as published in the Soviet Press is complete and correct. In view of the very full statement I thought it my duty to give the House on this matter, I think Mr. Molotov was fully justified in publishing the full text without further communication with me, and I am quite content that he should do so.

Mr. Wyatt

Was it not very wrong of the Prime Minister to make a premature disclosure of confidential letters with the Russians, because is it not the case that if we disapprove of anything he might have written in a private letter he would only lose his job, whereas the men in the Kremlin stand to lose their heads? Is it not very inhibiting to future private exchanges if they feel they cannot rely upon us not to reveal them when we think fit?

The Prime Minister

I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman should use Question Time for making offensive imputations on the Soviet Government.

50. Mrs. Castle

asked the Prime Minister if he will publish a White Paper giving the full text of the exchange of letters between himself and Mr. Molotov in 1954 dealing with his proposal for high-level talks.

The Prime Minister

I shall be very happy, if the hon. Member desires it, to send her a copy of the White Paper which was issued on Monday and has been available in the Vote Office ever since. I know she has had other serious preoccupations lately.

Mrs. Castle

Having read the White Paper which the right hon. Gentleman had published since I tabled my Question, may I ask him what it was that led him to change his mind about the value of personal contacts between him and Mr. Malenkov last year? Can he tell us whether it was that his colleagues in the Cabinet vetoed the proposal or was it that the United States Government raised objections?

The Prime Minister

I have not changed my mind at all about the value of personal contacts. I have, however, to think about their timeliness.