HC Deb 26 November 1958 vol 596 cc345-8
16. Mr. J. Hynd

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the public assertion by Mr. Khrushchev that Berlin forms part of the Soviet zone of Germany; and whether he will make a statement on British policy in this regard, in the light of the four-Power agreement on the administration of Berlin.

17. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what official communication he has received from the Soviet Government since 10th November with regard to the status of Berlin; what reply has been or will be sent by Her Ma jesty's Government either alone or in conjunction with the French, German, and United States Governments; and what evidence he has of attempts to interfere with transport between Berlin and West Germany.

21. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any official communication has yet been received from the Soviet Government regarding the transfer to East Germany of that section of the Berlin area in their occupation; and if he will make a statement.

28. Mr. Grimond

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a further statement on the situation in Berlin and Her Majesty's Government's policy.

33. Mr. E. Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to what extent, under the treaty agreements for the quadripartite occupation of Berlin, the Soviet Government have the right to transfer or delegate its responsibilities and administrative duties with regard to the troop movements and supplies of the Western Powers in Berlin.

35. Mr. Donnelly

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a further statement on the situation in Berlin.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

As my right hon. and learned Friend said on 19th November, no official communication has been received from the Soviet Government. That is still the position. In that Answer he set out the position of Her Majesty's Government which I cannot usefully amplify at present.

I have no evidence of recent attempts to interfere with transport between Berlin and West Germany.

The quadripartite agreements relating to Berlin make no provision for the transfer or delegation of the responsibilities or duties of the Soviet Government.

Mr. Hynd

In view of statements made publicly by American Government representatives, that we are ready to reopen the airlift in the event of the Russians handing over control of Berlin and the zone to the East Germans, is it a fact that if the Russians withdraw their responsibility for Berlin, or the zone, the Western Allies, in the absence of a German peace treaty, will still retain the right of access to Berlin along the corridor at ground level?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I believe that that is correct.

Mr. Sorensen

In view of the repeated statements about the announcement, have Her Majesty's Government attempted to inquire of the Russian Government the meaning and significance of the statements which they have made? If an official communication comes from the Russian Government, will Her Majesty's Government not merely be content with a negative reply, but take some initiative in the matter?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

That would largely depend on what the message contained. We have not yet had a message. A communication has been sent to the Soviet Government, who can now be in no doubt about our position.

Mr. Shinwell

Are we to understand that apart from the announcement of Mr. Khrushchev about the Russian intentions towards Berlin, there has been no follow-up at ambassadorial level or in any other fashion? Is that how the matter stands? If it is, are we to regard it as merely flying a kite, and as no more than that?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

We can all put different interpretations on what has happened, but I can state categorically that we have had no official communication from the Soviet Government on the matter.

Mr. Bevan

Do we not ourselves intend to take any initiative in Central Europe? [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Are we to wait all the time for initiatives to come from the Soviet Union? Have not very important statements been made in Poland which would have a direct bearing on the matter? When will we move ourselves?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I have been answering a series of Questions about the situation in Berlin. The right hon. Gentleman's supplementary question goes very much wider than that and there are other Questions on the Order Paper dealing with the matter he raised.

Mr. Grimond

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the situation in Berlin will ultimately be solved only in the wider context of a settlement for Eastern Europe? Are not Her Majesty's Government prepared to take any initiative, for instance, to get disengagement in Eastern Europe and the possibility of German reunification?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

Of course we agree that the problem of Berlin or of all Germany will be settled only in the context of a settlement of the East European question.

Mr. Bevan

Do not the Government intend to do something about it? [HON. MEMBERS: "What?"] Do the Government intend to continue with a series of incidents? Would not it be desirable to find out and announce what sort of response we would make to the suggestion of the Polish Foreign Minister? Of course, he has not made it official, because he does not want to make it official in order to have it turned down in one day by the American Government without consultation with anybody.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

The last part of that supplementary question did not seem to be addressed to Her Majesty's Government. I understood that the right hon. Gentleman was talking about the actions of the United States Government, which are not our responsibility. Questions about Mr. Rapacki's Plan are on the Order Paper.

Mr. E. Fletcher

Since this matter has now been ventilated by Mr. Khrushchev, will not the right hon. Gentleman take the opportunity of suggesting that any modifications of the existing status of Berlin could be dealt with only in the context of a German reunification plan? Will he take the initiative in seeing whether anything can be arranged on those lines?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I will certainly bear that in mind.

Mr. Russell

Is not it the case that on many occasions the Government have taken the initiative in plans for the reunification of Germany, but that they have always been blocked by the Russians?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

That is perfectly true.

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