HC Deb 18 November 1959 vol 613 cc1157-8
11. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement about the future of Western European Union.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

The Western European Union was created in the first place as a treaty organisation to permit the Federal Republic of Germany to play its full and proper part in the Western alliance. For this purpose certain military undertakings and safeguards were enshrined in the Treaty. It will continue to be a main task of the Western European Union to see that these are properly observed.

There are also the institutional aspects of Western European Union, the Assembly, the executive agencies, and the intergovernmental Council. These institutions all have a useful part to play. The Council in particular provides an existing and convenient forum for consultation between the Government of the United Kingdom and the six Governments of the European communities. I am now engaged in a series of discussions as to whether this function of the Council should assume increasing importance in the future.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Whilst thanking my right hon. and learned Friend for that reply, may I ask him whether it is proposed to move the headquarters of Western European Union from London to Paris? May I also ask him if he will resist any tendency to absorb Western European Union into N.A.T.O., as this organisation of sovereign European nations may have a distinctive and valuable part to play?

Mr. Lloyd

I agree with the latter part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question. On the first part, I think there is no more delicate subject for these various organisations than where their headquarters should be situated, and all I will say is that the matter is under discussion.