HC Deb 15 December 1960 vol 632 cc595-6
40. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Prime Minister whether, in the new year, he will invite the Prime Ministers of the Six and Seven to meet under his chairmanship to discuss ways of resolving their joint problems.

45. Mr. Marsh

asked the Prime Minister if he will consider inviting the Heads of Government of the Six and the Seven to confer together with a view to finding ways of resolving their joint problems.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)

I will certainly bear this possibility in mind; but I am not convinced that this is the moment for Her Majesty's Government to take the initiative in calling a meeting of the heads of Government concerned. I believe that the best approach to these problems is that described by my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal in the debate on the address on 4th November.

Mr. Wyatt

Is not the Prime Minister aware of the tremendous danger to British industry from the growing strength of the Common Market? Would not it be a good idea if he were to indulge in his well-known love of Summitry at a level where he might have a better chance of achieving good and practical results?

The Prime Minister

I will bear the hon. Gentleman's suggestion in mind.

Mr. Holt

Will the Prime Minister assure the House that the appropriate Government Departments are studying the problems involved in any question of our entry into the Common Market, because a recent reply by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food confirms a feeling that the Government are not studying these problems yet?

The Prime Minister

I think that would be a wrong conclusion. A great deal of work is going on and many valuable discussions are taking place with many other countries.

Mr. Gaitskell

Cannot the Prime Minister enlighten us a little further? What sort of talks are going on? What are the prospects of an early agreement between the Six and the Seven?

The Prime Minister

I answered the original Question, which was whether I would summon a meeting of heads of Government. That is a big decision to make, and I do not think that at the present moment it would be a right one.

Mr. Gaitskell

Surely the Prime Minister is briefed to answer a few supplementary questions. One of them, an important one, is, what are the prospects of agreement on the basis of the present talks?

The Prime Minister

I am not briefed to reply to questions that have little relation to the subject of the first Question. As to the prospects, I would say that very great progress has been made in the conversations we have had, and I am very hopeful that ultimately we shall arrive at a solution of this problem.