HC Deb 31 March 1955 vol 539 cc546-7
49. Mr. Grimond

asked the Prime Minister if he will consult with the President of the United States of America and the Governments of other countries concerned with a view to setting up some assembly under the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation similar to the Council of Europe.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. It is not the policy of Her Majesty's Government to establish a parliamentary assembly as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation machinery. We are not alone in this. Our view is shared by a number of other N.A.T.O. Governments. Her Majesty's Government, however, welcome parliamentary interest in and support for N.A.T.O. through unofficial meetings of Members of Parliament from N.A.T.O. countries. Such a project is planned for this summer in Paris.

Mr. Grimond

Whilst agreeing that unofficial meetings may do a great deal of good, would not the Prime Minister also agree that if there were such an assembly it might lead to a much better understanding within the countries concerned of the possibilities of the Western Alliance, not only for defence but also for peaceful purposes?

The Prime Minister

If it were a freely chosen representative assembly it might be just as likely to breed misunderstanding as understanding.

Mr. de Freitas

Whilst agreeing that it is undesirable that N.A.T.O. should have this, may I ask the Prime Minister to consider consultations as to the evolution of the European Assembly into an Atlantic Assembly so that the Americans and the Canadians could meet with European members and discuss common problems in debate?

The Prime Minister

Certainly. I think the closer the contacts between the United States and Europe the better.

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