§ 33. Mr. Shinwell
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the present position in the Berlin crisis.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Precisely, because the right hon. Gentleman has nothing to add to his speech and that of his right hon. Friend during the debate on foreign affairs last week, when they explicitly maintained their rigid attitude on the Berlin problem, I wish to ask whether he is aware that I have received a letter from President Kennedy this morning—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—it is signed by the President—in which he says, apropos the Berlin affair:So far as Berlin is concerned we are committed to no rigid formula and are prepared to—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. Even from such an eminent person quotations are not permissible during Question Time.
§ Mr. Shinwell
As President Kennedy has made this declaration that the American Administration adopt no rigid formula in this connection and are prepared to make a reasonable approach, would the right hon. Gentleman on behalf of Her Majesty's Government make a similar declaration?
§ Mr. Heath
No, with great respect to the right hon. Member, what we maintained was that at this time when discussions had been going on and we were looking forward to a continuation of the probe of the Soviet intentions, it was not possible for Ministers to express views to the House on particular proposals raised by hon. Members. That was the attitude of the Government, not rigidity in the negotiations, and in that we are in agreement with the President. I hope the right hon. Member will allow us to have the opportunity of seeing the President's letter.