HC Deb 17 April 1956 vol 551 cc843-6
46. Mr. Healey

asked the Prime Minister whether he will discuss with the Russian Prime Minister the maintenance of peace between Israel and the Arab States.

48. Mr. Warbey

asked the Prime Minister whether he will propose to Messrs. Bulganin and Khrushchev, during the course of his discussions with them, the participation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, together with France, the United States of America, and other arms-exporting countries, in a consultative committee which would have the function of regulating the supply of arms to Middle East countries until such time as a definitive peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Arab conflict is achieved.

The Prime Minister (Sir Anthony Eden)

I have already said that the main purpose of the visit of the Soviet leaders is to discuss the many issues that today divide the world. The talks will be confidential, and I am not prepared to disclose what particular points or arguments will be raised by Her Majesty's Government.

Mr. Healey

In view of the fact that reports have been received that the American Administration are now considering inviting the Soviet Union to associate itself with arms control, under the 1950 Declaration, cannot the Prime Minister at least give us some assurances on this point?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Member is very experienced in these affairs, and I think he will appreciate that it would be unusual—and, I think, very unwise—for me to launch into anything in the nature of an agenda before this meeting takes place. Clearly, if I answer his Question I shall have to answer the questions of others who wish to know whether the items in which they are interested are on the agenda, and there will be no end to it.

Mr. Warbey

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the representative opinion, expressed by Mr. Walter Lippman, that it is better to fix upon the Soviet Union the responsibility for sharing, as an equal partner, in the maintenance of peace in the Middle East rather than exclude her from all influence in that part of the world?

The Prime Minister

For a great many years I have had the pleasure of reading Mr. Lippman's articles with very great care.

Captain Waterhouse

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind in these discussions that it has always been British policy to exclude Muscovite influence from the Levant?

Mr. Jack Jones

Will the Prime Minister give the House an assurance that, despite the fact that these talks are to be confidential, he will make every effort to get as many commercial travellers into Russia as we have fellow travellers in Britain?

The Prime Minister

Thank you very much.

47. Mr. Lewis

asked the Prime Minister whether, during the forthcoming visit of Marshal Bulganin and Mr. Khrushchev, he will arrange for them to spend part of a Sunday morning at the Speakers' Corner, Marble Arch.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir; Mr. Bulganin and Mr. Khrushchev will be at Chequers on Sunday morning. For examples of British oratory they will have to rely on their visit to this House, where, Sir, I think that you will agree that controversial matters are occasionally raised.

Mr. Lewis

I appreciate that the visit to Chequers will be important and, equally, that the visit to the House will be of interest, but is the Prime Minister not aware of the fact that one of the greatest free democratic forums is Speakers' Corner at Marble Arch, and, whilst there may not be any clowns with top hats there, it is just as important for these visitors to go there as to come here?

The Prime Minister

I do not think that that forum is exclusive. I do not think that I would wish to put it above the standing of this House.

49. Mr. S. O. Davies

asked the Prime Minister why arrangements have not been made for Marshal Bulganin and Mr. Khrushchev to visit Wales; and if he is aware that the Welsh people are taking exception to the manner in which their hospitality is thus ignored.

The Prime Minister

The programme for the Soviet leaders' visit is a very full one. I regret that it has not proved possible to include in it a visit to Wales on this occasion.

Mr. Davies

Is not the Prime Minister aware that his treatment of Wales has been angrily noted by the Welsh people? Is he not also aware that the Welsh nation is really getting tired of this habitual disregard of its interests and, particularly, its instinctive hospitality? Why did he not allow these distinguished visitors to go to Wales as he has to Scotland? What special reasons did he have?

The Prime Minister

We have discussed this matter many times. The programme has been arranged—as I think the House generally agrees—with a view to getting the maximum discussion. Naturally, it was not at all that I wished to slight Wales in any way. If these conversations go well, some visitors might come back again for the purposes of travel. If they wish to do that, no doubt the traditional hospitality of Wales will be open to them.

Mr. Davies

The Prime Minister has deliberately offended the Welsh people. Will he take note of that?