HC Deb 10 February 1960 vol 617 cc459-60
32. Mr. Kirk

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement about the meeting of the Western European Union Council of Ministers in London on 4th February, 1960.

Mr. Profumo

It was a particularly useful meeting largely because the atmosphere was informal and intimate so that the discussions were able to range over a wide area. It was agreed that these political consultations within Western European Union should be developed without prejudice to the political consultations in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. For this purpose it was decided that the Council should meet at Ministerial level several times a year.

The Council also had a discussion with the President of the Western European Union Assembly about the rôle of Western European Union.

With permission I will circulate a copy of the communiqué in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Kirk

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Can he say whether these meetings will be held on a regular basis several times a year or merely when inspiration moves the Ministers to call them?

Mr. Profumo

Somewhere between the two.

Following is the communiqué: A meeting of the Council of Western European Union at Ministerial level was held on 4th February, 1960, in London at the headquarters of the Organisation. It was held under the chairmanship of Monsieur E. Schaus, Luxembourg Minister for Foreign Affairs. Belgium was represented by Monsieur P. Wigny, France by Monsieur J. Chauvel, the Federal Republic of Germany by Herr H. von Brentano, Italy by Signor G. Pella, the Netherlands by Dr. J. M. A. H. Luns, and United Kingdom by Mr. Selwyn Lloyd. The Ministers expressed their determination to maintain close and effective political co-operation between the seven Governments of Western European Union. They discussed the rôle which the Organisation might play in the light of the evolution of the various other European institutions. The Council were unanimous in restating their belief that W.E.U. had an important contribution to make to the political solidarity of Western Europe. The Council stated their intention to develop political consultations within Western European Union, without prejudice to consultations in N.A.T.O. They took the opportunity offered by the meeting which has just ended to hold such an exchange of views. It was further agreed that the Council should meet more frequently at Ministerial level. A date for the next meeting would be determined by Mr. Luns. Netherlands Foreign Minister, Chairman in Office of the Council for the second quarter of the year. The President of the Western European Union Assembly, Signor V. Badini Confalonieri, attended part of the Council's afternoon session in order to discuss with the Ministers questions of common interest to both the Council and the Assembly and, in particular, means of ensuring more effective co-operation between these two organs of W.E.U.