HC Deb 28 July 1959 vol 610 cc312-3
43. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent Finnish representatives were present at his talks in Stockholm with the Outer Seven countries; and, having regard to existing trade arrangements with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, what representations have ben received from the Soviet Government regarding the effects of the proposed trading arrangements for these countries.

The Paymaster-General (Mr. Reginald Maudling)

As stated in the communiqué issued after the Stockholm talks last week, the Finnish Minister for Trade and Industry was invited to make a statement to the conference explaining the attitude of his Government to the plan for a Free Trade Association. He said that the Finnish Government hoped to be provided with facilities to follow further discussions more closely. Ministers of the Seven countries took note of the Finnish statement and agreed that Finland, as a member of the Nordic group, should be afforded such facilities being unable to follow developments through the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation of which she is not a member.

Her Majesty's Government have received no representations on this matter from the Soviet Government.

Mr. Nabarro

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the failure of the Finns to participate in this agreement was due to Soviet blandishments or due to the fact that it would have been incompatible with the Anglo-Soviet Agreement on trade negotiated only a few months ago?

Mr. Maudling

Neither. They did not ask to participate. They asked to be given facilities to follow what we were doing, and that request was readily granted.