HC Deb 13 May 1957 vol 570 cc28-9
45. Mr. Healey

asked the Prime Minister to what extent, in his recent talks with Chancellor Adenauer, he discussed reviving the plan for a European settlement, put forward at Geneva by his predecessor in 1955.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)

I take it that the hon. Member is referring to the Western proposals for German reunification and European security which were put forward at the Geneva Conference of Foreign Ministers in 1955. These included the Eden plan for German reunification in freedom, which was first put forward on behalf of the Western Powers by Sir Anthony Eden at the Berlin Conference in 1954, and the outline Treaty of Assurance. In my view, these proposals provide the most satisfactory basis for a European settlement. I was happy to find, during my recent talks with Dr. Adenauer, that he is in complete agreement with this view. There is no question of reviving these proposals since they have never been withdrawn.

Mr. Healey

I am afraid that the Prime Minister is mistaken as to what Eden plan I am referring to. Is he aware that the American President and the Soviet Prime Minister have both now declared themselves in favour of trying to negotiate a European settlement on the basis of what they call the Eden plan for a neutral belt in Central Europe? In view of this fact, is the Prime Minister now ganging up with Dr. Adenaeur to prevent negotiations which might lead to the greatest relaxation of international tension since 1945?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir, but I answered the Question which was on the Order Paper—that is, the plan for European settlement put forward in 1955—and I referred to that plan. With regard to quite separate proposals, I understand that Questions have been asked—indeed, I heard them—of my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary today, and I have nothing to add to his replies.

Mr. Gaitskell

Arc we then to understand from the Prime Minister that Her Majesty's Government contemplate no fresh initiative whatever in the matter of German reunification?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir.

Mr. Bevan

Is it not extremely undesirable that at this late stage, when the United States are at last showing an interest in the plan and there appears to be a more friendly attitude on the part of the Soviet Union, Her Majesty's Government are not pursuing an initiative which they themselves began?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I said in reply to the Leader of the Opposition that we were contemplating these affairs.

Mr. Gaitskell

Cannot the Prime Minister enlighten the House as to when this initiative will be made and what form it will take?

The Prime Minister

No. As the right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well. these matters all require both careful thought and wise timing.

Mr. Bellenger

As the Government have recently received a letter from the Russian Government, and as the Foreign Secretary has indicated quite clearly today that there may be some misapprehension on the part of Russia as to what Eden plan they are referring to, will the Prime Minister make it quite clear to the Russians what Eden plan he is referring to and ascertain which one they refer to in their letter?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. It will be my hope in this correspondence to clear up these misunderstandings.