HC Deb 10 July 1957 vol 573 cc366-7
16. Mr. F. M. Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why Great Britain was not represented at the Council of Europe meeting of officials at Bonn on 4th and 5th June to discuss mutual reduction of frontier formalities in Western Europe.

Mr. Ian Harvey

The Council of Europe meeting of officials in question was the Special Committee set up under Council of Europe Resolution (56) 22 to study the simplification of frontier formalities in member States. The reasons why Her Majesty's Government are not participating on this Committee were set out in the reply given on 11th March to the right hon. Member for Brighouse and Spenborough (Mr. J. Edwards).

Mr. Bennett

Does not the Minister really appreciate that, even though we may not have been able to go all the way with our Continental friends, because of our position over passports, our complete boycott has caused widespread resentment; and would it not be worth while attending such meetings so that we can go some of the way? Is the policy of the late Mr. Ernest Bevin that everyone should be free to buy a ticket at Victoria to go anywhere he likes still the policy of Her Majesty's Government?

Mr. Harvey

I think that my hon. Friend has rather over-stated the resentment. As was explained in the Answer given before, the reason we are not attending the meeting is that we cannot usefully add anything to the deliberations. With regard to the buying of tickets at Victoria, as we know, other people have slightly interfered with the effective carrying out of that policy.