HC Deb 08 February 1962 vol 653 cc613-4
Q6. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his correspondence in the last two months with Mr. Khrushchev about Berlin.

The Prime Minister

Any correspondence I might have with other Heads of Government would be confidential.

Mr. Allaun

I appreciate the need for privacy, but cannot the Prime Minister write to Mr. Khrushchev, referring to the recent mutual withdrawal of tanks from Checkpoint Charlie as a hopeful sign and the creation of a hopeful mood, and as a symbol of bigger things, such as guaranteeing West Berlin's security and also vetoing nuclear weapons for West and East Germany?

The Prime Minister

All these are large issues. So far as Berlin is concerned, they are being dealt with at present by the United States Ambassador in Moscow. He has had three meetings with Mr. Gromyko and is trying to establish whether a basis can be found for a fruitful negotiation.

Mr. Shinwell

If the Prime Minister cannot disclose conversations which he regards as confidential, will he at least inform the House whether he has been in correspondence with Mr. Khrushchev?

The Prime Minister

If I were to answer that question it would take away a great deal from the value of any correspondence that there might have been.

Mr. Jeger

Does not the Prime Minister realise that he may be arousing suspicions by conducting secret correspondence with Communists? Does he not agree that, in general, it would be a good thing if all correspondence, contacts and business arrangements with all Communists were made known to this House?

The Prime Minister

If I were to have any correspondence, it would be confidential.