§ 7. Mr. S. Silverman
asked the Lord Privy Seal what proposals Her Majesty's Government have recently made or will make to their North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to secure a joint plan for the future status of Berlin.
§ 27. Mr. Rankin
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will undertake that the degree to which United Kingdom rights in West Berlin will be maintained will be decided independently of the decisions taken by other interested Powers.
§ Mr. Heath
The North Atlantic Council discussed the question of Berlin as recently as last May, in Oslo. They were all agreed that a peaceful and just solution for the problem of Germany including Berlin is to be found only on the basis of self-determination. The Western peace plan, put forward in 1959, provides for such a solution. Her Majesty's Government share their rights and responsibilities in Berlin with other Powers, and any action to uphold their rights and fulfil their responsibilities will be taken in concert with those Powers, as hitherto.
§ Mr. Silverman
Is that the whole of the constructive contribution which Her Majesty's Government at this time have to make? Does the right hon. Gentleman consider that the present position of Berlin can remain until there is a reunification of Germany? Is that a realistic approach? Do the Government believe that the state of Berlin cannot remain indefinitely as it is now? If they are not satisfied with the Russian proposal, why do they not take the initiative themselves and make some constructive proposals of their own?
§ Mr. Rankin
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in his report after the Vienna meeting with Mr. Khrushchev President Kennedy stated that in order to defend those rights he was prepared to take any risk whatsoever? Does the 929 policy enshrined in that attitude represent the policy that we have in West Berlin, or can the right hon. Gentleman tell us that we are looking at the problem with a more constructive approach than that statement of President Kennedy indicates?
§ Mr. Healey
Will the Lord Privy Seal agree, first, that if there is to be a change in the status of West Berlin it must be by agreement with all four Powers signing the agreements defining the existing status of West Berlin, and second, that if there is to be a change in the status of West Berlin it must apply also to the status of East Berlin which is governed by the same agreements?
§ Mr. M. Foot
Do not the proposals which the right hon. Gentleman has outlined as a Western basis for a settlement of the German problem mean that the Russian Government would have to accept that the whole of a reunited Germany should conceivably be incorporated in the Western defence system? Does he think that it is realistic for any Government to suggest that that is what the Russians should approve?
§ Mr. Silverman
Will the Lord Privy Seal accept that it is common ground that the rights of the Western Powers should be protected, that it is common ground that the West Berliners should be consulted and that they should be protected, and that it is common ground that the anomalous conditions in Berlin are anomalous conditions in East Berlin as well as in West Berlin? Have the Government any proposals for bringing these anomalous conditions to an end, or is the thing to remain as an open festering sore until the third world war breaks out?
§ 13. Mr. Frank Allaun
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the Western Plan, published on 30th May, to which Her Majesty's Government have agreed, which includes the capture of East German control posts.
§ 38. Mr. Healey
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the policy of Her Majesty's Government concerning military contingency planning by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on Berlin.
§ Mr. Allaun
Is the Lord Privy Seal aware that last week the Minister of Defence was asked if he had read a detailed and unrepudiated article in the New York Herald-Tribune and that he replied that he was not responsible for what appeared in American papers? May I now ask the Lord Privy Seal whether there is or is not a new Western plan which would involve the seizure of the Helmstadt base, which would precipitate a new world war?
§ Mr. Heath
Of course, I have seen the various articles written by American correspondents containing all sorts of suggestions and speculations. Obviously, all the Western Governments have been consulting on the possible contingencies that may arise in Berlin, and rightly so. We would have been failing in our duty if we had not.
§ Mrs. Hart
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, quite apart from the article in the New York Herald-Tribune, a day or two earlier there was a report in the Daily Express which was alleged to be 931 based on what a Foreign Office spokesman had said in regard to the emergency plan for Berlin? Is he further aware that if it is becoming clear that his policy and N.A.T.O. policy on Berlin are going to result in the issue of ultimatums and counter-ultimatums by each side there must be something wrong with that policy? Will not he consider an alternative policy, such as a United Nations policy?
§ Mr. Healey
While recognising the need for contingency planning by the military, particularly in view of the Soviet Government's threat, unilaterally and without the agreement of the cosignatories, to transfer some of the responsibilities which they accepted at the end of the war, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he would not agree that it must remain the responsibility of the political authorities in all the four countries concerned to decide where and when these contingency plans should be carried out according to the circumstances of the case when they arise?