HC Deb 19 December 1957 vol 580 cc610-1
50. Mr. Zilliacus

asked the Prime Minister whether the immediate dismissal of the Soviet Prime Minister's offer of negotiations of 11th December by a British delegate at the Political Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on 13th December represented the policy of the Government.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I have been asked to reply.

I presume that the hon. Member refers to the speech made by my hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Mr. G. Longden) in the First Committee. The text of this speech is available to hon. Members in the Library of the House. I do not think that there is any phrase or sentence in this speech—which I fully endorse—which could be taken to imply that a Soviet offer of negotiations has been rejected. Nor has any formal offer of this kind been made by the Soviet Government to Her Majesty's Government, either in Mr. Bulganin's letter of 11th December or otherwise.

Mr. Zilliacus

Is not the Lord Privy Seal aware that the hon. Member to whom the Question refers said that the Soviet Prime Minister's offer was a tale to be told to the marines? Is he seriously suggesting that that represents the attitude of the Government? If so, when it comes to making peace they are not only retarded pygmies but malignant morons.

Mr. Butler

It would be better if the hon. Member and other hon. Members were to read the whole text of the speech, the contents of which I have with me. It runs into three and a half sheets of foolscap and is in the Library of the House. If the hon. Member were to read the speech, he would find that it was drafted in the context of Hungary and asks for Soviet words and deeds to correspond one with the other.