HC Deb 04 February 1958 vol 581 c977
50. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Prime Minister if he will consider placing on the agenda for the proposed Summit Conference proposals for calling a world economic conference under the auspices of the United Nations for the purpose of considering plans by which all nations will divert their present expenditure on armaments to peace-time production for raising the standard of living throughout the world.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I have been asked to reply.

No, Sir. The United Nations Resolution of 14th November, 1957, which endorsed the Western Powers' disarmament proposals, included an invitation to the States concerned: to consider the possibility of devoting, out of the funds made available as a result of disarmament, as and when sufficient progress is made, additional resources to the improvement of living conditions throughout the world. Her Majesty's Government have accepted that suggestion, and I do not think we can go further at present.

Mr. Hughes

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is an impression in the world that Mr. Bulganin and the Russians are always taking the initiative in foreign policy? Does he not think it would be very difficult for the Russians to refuse a proposal for a world economic conference, which would attract the imagination of people throughout the world?

Mr. Butler

This is tied up with some relief to disarmament funds and their being used for purposes of economic relief. The first thing is to reach some agreement with the Soviet Union on disarmament.