HC Deb 26 November 1956 vol 561 cc23-5
21. Mr. Younger

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what advisers were present at the conversations held between himself, M. Pineau and the Prime Minister in London on 23rd October.

46. Mr. Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will give the names of the officials from his Department who accompanied him during his recent visit to Paris on the occasion of his discussions with the French Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

On both occasions my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary were accompanied by the appropriate officials.

Mr. Younger

Are we to understand from that reply that on both occasions officials were present at the meeting? I should like it to be confirmed. If that is the case, will the hon. Gentleman be good enough to confirm it? Is he aware that the reason why I have asked the question is that it has been generally stated that no advisers were present on either occasion, which seems somewhat unusual?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Sometimes they were present and sometimes they were not. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] As the right hon. Gentleman, who was for some time a senior Minister at the Foreign Office, knows, it is not unprecedented for Ministers to see people from overseas without being accompanied by officials. I should be very surprised if he or any other right hon. Gentleman opposite would maintain that he was always accompanied by officials on every occasion. Certainly, when meetings were held in connection with the Summit Conference at Geneva last year without officials being present—and that was publicised—there was no complaint from right hon. Gentlemen opposite.

Mr. Lewis

Will the hon. Gentleman confirm or deny that civil servants were sent out when the Prime Minister was informed by the French Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Israel's impending attack—that is, on 16th October? Will he confirm or deny that the Prime Minister was definitely informed on 16th October when he sent his officials out?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Certainly not, Sir. Nothing that I say should be taken to confirm or support in any way the hon. Gentleman's wishful thinking.

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