HC Deb 19 March 1956 vol 550 cc803-4
5. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will instruct the representative of Her Majesty's Government on the United Nations Disarmament Sub-Committee to propose that its meetings be held in public.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

No, Sir. The United Nations General Assembly Resolution of November, 1953, which suggested the establishment of the Sub-Committee, recommended that it should work in private. I believe on the whole that that is the better method.

Mr. Henderson

Even though it may be desirable to have the sittings in private, does not the Foreign Secretary agree that it might be most advantageous if publicity could be given to the major policy proposals which may be made by the Governments represented at the Conference?

Mr. Lloyd

That is a matter which I am considering now. There is something in what the right hon. and learned Gentleman says, particularly as, however private these discussions are supposed to be, there appears to be a certain amount of public comment about them at the moment.

Mr. Beswick

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman accept the suggestion which he accepted in the case of the previous two series of sittings—that the verbatim reports of the Sub-Committee should be published after the series is over?

Mr. Lloyd

I, personally, think that that would be advantageous, but there are four other members of the Sub-Committee, and I do not think that I can commit them.

Mr. Royle

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman consider giving Members of Parliament the opportunity to attend some of the sittings?

Mr. Lloyd

That facility might be requested by members of all the other Parliaments concerned, and that would create an interesting situation—but I will consider the hon. Member's suggestion.