HC Deb 13 May 1957 vol 570 cc19-21
36. Mr. Healey

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what recent consultations he has had with the United States Government concerning the Eden plan for a neutral zone in Europe.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

There is no Eden plan for a neutral zone in Europe. I should, however, like to clear up one point. It is alleged that Sir Anthony Eden supported the idea of a demilitarised zone on either side of the present dividing line in Germany. That is untrue.

What Sir Anthony Eden, in fact, suggested at the Summit Meeting was that in specified areas of agreed extent on either side of the line dividing Eastern and Western Europe joint inspecting teams should operate by mutual consent. The idea of this proposal was to gain practical experience in the operation of disarmament control techniques. It was connected with disarmament and not with European security, and has been superseded by subsequent discussions in the United Nations Disarmament Sub-Committee on problems of disarmament control.

With regard to the other plans put forward by Sir Anthony Eden, they were on the assumption of a reunified Germany.

Mr. Healey

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that last week President Eisenhower declared himself in favour of what was referred to as the Eden plan for a neutral belt in Europe? In view of this fact and the fact that the Russians have also asked for discussions on this question, will the Foreign Secretary now enter into discussions with Britain's allies and the Soviet Union for a European settlement along these lines?

Mr. Lloyd

At the talks both at the Summit Meeting and in October. 1955, proposals were put forward for the reunification of Germany on the basis of freedom, and at the same time there were put forward, as the hon. Gentleman no doubt remembers, the outline plans of a treaty of assurance on the reunification of Germany; and by those proposals we still stand.

Mr. Shinwell

Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman observed that the other day Prime Minister Adenauer rejected the proposal for the neutralisation of Germany? In view of the fact that Germany is now a sovereign Power, is it suggested that we should impose our will on that country?

Mr. Lloyd

What the right hon. Gentleman says is correct. What Chancellor Adenauer also said was that on the assumption of the reunification of Germany, he would accept a disarmed zone in Eastern Germany, which is quite a different matter.

Mr. Bellenger

What does the Foreign Secretary understand is the meaning of the reference to the Eden plan in the recent Soviet Note? There seems to be some distinction between two Eden plans. Could he inform the House what is the precise plan to which the Russians refer?

Mr. Lloyd

I re-read Marshal Bulganin's letter with that in mind. So far as I can understand, I think he was referring to the treaty of assurance or the special measures referred to in that Treaty.

Mr. J. Hynd

In view of his last answer, will the Foreign Secretary try to find out from the Russians what plans they have in mind?

Mr. Lloyd

In considering our answer to Marshal Bulganin's letter, we shall certainly have that in mind.