HC Deb 07 December 1961 vol 650 cc1525-7
Q2. Sir C. Osborne

asked the Minister if, in view of President Kennedy's successful interview reported inIzvestia,he will approach Mr. Khrushchev for similar publicity on a reciprocal basis to be given in both countries for Mr. Khrushchev and himself, respectively, so as to create better understanding as the basis for peaceful co-existence; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

I had noted that the publication in Izvestia of an interview with President Kennedy opened up interesting possibilities.

Sir C. Osborne

Since world peace may well depend upon the Russian people more properly understanding our point of view and our understanding the Russian point of view, does not my right hon. Friend think that if this type of negotiation could be continued and extended it would be very helpful towards that end?

The Prime Minister

I think that this interview was very valuable. I made some effort in that direction myself, and I had the opportunity of appearing on the Russian television, which was, I think, a very unusual privilege.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

That was some years ago. Is not the hon. Gentleman's proposal a very sensible and practical one?

The Prime Minister

Yes, but it is not necessarily right immediately to follow one particular step with exactly the same thing.

Mr. S. Silverman

Does the Prime Minister recall that he has consistently told the House of Commons, when it has been curious about conversations which he has had with various foreign statesmen, that he could not tell us anything because the conversations were confidential? The result has been that the House has never been able to know exactly what is in the right hon. Gentleman's mind about these problems. Does he appreciate that Dr. Adenauer and President Kennedy have both found ways round that difficulty, the one by a statement in the Bundestag and the other in an interview with a Soviet newspaper? Does the Prime Minister think that he might find some way of taking us a little into his confidence as to exactly how he is thinking about these problems?

The Prime Minister

I have spoken about them in various debates. What I am anxious about now is getting a good result out of a very difficult and even critical situation.