§ 5. Mr. Boyd
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps Her Majesty's Government will propose to promote greater unity among the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation nations; and if he will support proposals for more frequent meetings of the Ministerial 1249 Council, more mutual consultation in the shaping of policy on matters of common concern, and an elected Consultative Assembly.
§ 42. Mr. John Hall
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what agreement has been reached between the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on the right of individual member countries to take such action as may be necessary to defend their vital interests without prior consultation with their fellow members.
§ 44. Mr. Dudley Williams
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what discussions took place at the recent meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Council on the limitations imposed by membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on the actions of member States when their vital interests are affected; and what conclusions resulted therefrom.
§ 56. Mr. G. Brown
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to make a statement about the recent meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Council.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
The House will have seen the communiqué issued after this meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Council. In approving the recommendation contained in the Report of the Three Wise Men the Council affirmed the importance of consultation on all matters significantly affecting the alliance. It was recognised however, that emergencies might arise in which such consultation would be obviously impossible. National Governments must bear the ultimate responsibility for safeguarding national interests. Subject to that I hope that as a result of this last meeting consultation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Council will be considerably improved.
The new directive for military planning, which is naturally a secret document, should provide for effective and economic use of resources available With 1250 regard to the question of an elected consultative assembly, that was not discussed at these meetings.
The Council unanimously approved the appointment of the Belgian Foreign Minister, M. Spaak, as Secretary-General in succession to Lord Ismay. I am sure that the House will agree that this is a most happy choice. I would also like to say how deep are our regrets at Lord Ismay's decision to retire. It is impossible to exaggerate the magnitude of his services to the alliance. The House would have been proud to hear the tributes paid to him by our allies.
§ Mr. Lloyd
It is not easy to do that by way of question and answer. I suggested that the Report of the Three Wise Men should be considered against a wider background in which one would seek to get some rationalisation of all the many organisations, authorities and assemblies now being created in Europe.
§ Mr. P. Noel-Baker
May I associate my right hon. and hon. Friends with the tribute which the Foreign Secretary has paid to the great services rendered by Lord Ismay?
Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that opinion among our friends in Europe appears to be by no means unanimous about the merits of this proposed new assembly? Will he pay particular regard to what emerges from the debates of the Council of Europe at its forthcoming session in January?
§ Mr. Brown
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that he has only answered Question No. 56. The Minister of Defence, to whom the question was put, seems curiously reluctant to tell us anything about the defence aspect of the 1251 talks. The Secretary of State has said that the military directive is a secret document. Can he tell us what sort of direction the military talks in Paris took, and whether our own wide review of defence policy which was promised by the Chancellor comes after the issue of this new directive and, if it does, whether it will override it?