HC Deb 15 July 1959 vol 609 cc407-8
43. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what further development he is able to report following his attendance at the Washington Shipping Conference.

45. Mr. Peyton

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will give some further information about the continuing informal machinery which is to be set up to consider international shipping problems, following the recent talks in Washington.

Mr. Watkinson

Discussions between the European Governments which took part in the Washington talks are proceeding and we are considering what the best arrangements would be. An approach will be made to the United States Government as soon as conclusions have been reached.

Mr. Shinwell

In view of the parlous state of our shipping industry at present, and also that of some other maritime countries outside the United States, can the right hon. Gentleman offer any prospects of a favourable response on behalf of the United States Government? Does he realise that unless there is a favourable response to the shipping interests of this and other non-American countries we shall be compelled to take retaliatory action?

Mr. Watkinson

We established in Washington a good identity of view between all the European nations which have a very strong view on this matter. We are most anxious that we should go forward to the Americans with our case quite clearly agreed between us. It has taken a little time to do this, but I think we shall very shortly be arranging with them this informal committee, to which we attach great importance. The delay has at least meant that our representations to the American Government will be joint representations by all the European nations concerned.

Mr. Peyton

Does my right hon. Friend realise that his initiative in going to Washington was most welcome and that it appears that since then there has been some evidence of a change of heart by the American authorities in the case of Ecuador? Will he do what he can to see that the effects of that initiative are not lost and that this is a continuing effort to get something done belatedly, but at all times bring to bear on the Americans the intense resentment felt about any continuation of these wretched practices?

Mr. Watkinson

I quite agree with my hon. Friend that one does not get quick results in this sort of thing and we must keep up the maximum pressure. I hope I can record it as the sense of the whole House that we should make some progress with our American allies on this very difficult problem.

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