HC Deb 15 February 1956 vol 548 cc2359-61
41. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, at the next Organisation for European Economic Co-operation Council meeting, he will put forward proposals to reconcile the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation atomic energy plan and the Euratom proposals, to show that the two plans are politically compatible, and that the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation plan is flexible enough to include Euratom.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

The report of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation Working Party on Nuclear Energy deals with the possibility of a flexible scheme of co-operation. The Foreign Ministers of the Messina Conference Powers, after a meeting in Brussels on 11th February, issued a communiqué indicating a general disposition to collaborate with the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation, whose wider framework, it was stated, was perfectly compatible with their more concentrated efforts. Her Majesty's Government will be happy to discuss the matter on this basis at the next meeting of the Organisation of European Economic Co-operation Ministerial Council.

Mr. de Freitas

Does the Foreign Secretary realise that the delay of the Government in making a statement about this gives rise to a great deal of misunderstanding on the Continent because, from this delay, we appear to regard the matter as of no importance?

Mr. Lloyd

I do not think that that is correct. This communique was issued after the meeting on 11th February; and the one thing which we have been very anxious to preserve is O.E.E.C. itself.

Mr. Robens

In view of his reply a short time ago about the difficulty of controlling nuclear weapons, does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman think that he should look again at the question of Euratom and O.E.E.C.? Does not he think this is probably the only chance we shall have of controlling nuclear energy in Europe as a whole, including Germany, which is a very important aspect of this matter?

Mr. Lloyd

I think these are important aspects. Provided that this new organisation is compatible with O.E.E.C, we are perfectly prepared to examine how we can further our relationships with it.

Mr. Robens

Is there not a great difference between the approach of O.E.E.C. and the Eupopean nations inasmuch as Euratom will give a control over nuclear energy while the O.E.E.C. plan would be a question of partnership and a good deal of control would be left in the national States?

Mr. Lloyd

If the Euratom plan, as I understand it, takes that form, I see no reason why it should not be compatible with O.E.E.C. What we have to make certain is that it will not be incompatible.

Mr. Brooman-White

Will my right hon. and learned Friend use what influence he can to ensure that the various groups of experts who are working on these vitally important plans should, in so far as possible, approach that work in a spirit of co-operation and not competition?

Mr. Lloyd

I would certainly agree with what my hon. Friend has said.

Forward to