HC Deb 28 June 1962 vol 661 cc1342-3
16. Mr. P. Williams

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether he will make a statement on his visit to India and Pakistan.

The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. Duncan Sandys)

During the Recess, I paid short visits to India and Pakistan and had useful talks with President Ayub and Mr. Nehru and with other members of their Governments. Both in Rawalpindi and Delhi, we discussed the safeguards needed to protect the trading interests of the two countries, in the event of Britain joining the Common Market. The Indian and Pakistan Governments each inquired from me about the prospects of obtaining further financial aid. I also discussed with Mr. Nehru India's requirements for fighter aircraft.

Mr. Williams

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that reply and apologise to him for having brought him here for one Question. Nevertheless, may I ask him if he was able in these discussions with two great members of the Commonwealth to put forward any positive plans, not just for preserving our interests now and in the future, but for expanding trade to the mutual advantage of the three countries concerned?

Mr. Sandys

That was, of course, at the base of all our talks—the necessity and desirability of expanding trade, not only between this country and India and Pakistan, but also, if we went into the Community, between those countries and Europe.

Mr. Healey

In view of the fact that the Indian representative in Brussels described Her Majesty's Government's earlier proposals for India and Pakistan interests as requiring India to behave like a performing flea, can the right hon. Gentleman say whether as a result of his discussions with Mr. Nehru and President Ayub any changes have been made in the British proposals to the European Community?

Mr. Sandys

We did not discuss acrobatics, but, apart from that, we naturally went into the whole question of the proposals which are being put forward and are being discussed at this very moment in Brussels. I think I was able to assure the Indian and Pakistan Governments that we were putting forward their requirements in Brussels to the utmost extent possible, but, equally, I was able, I hope, to convince them that some of the requests which they would have liked us to sponsor were not negotiable and were outside the scope of the negotiations.

Mr. Stonehouse

Was the Secretary of State able to give an assurance that in regard to the export of manufactured goods from India and Pakistan, in particular textiles, those countries would have at least comparable outlets in the enlarged Community as they now have in the United Kingdom?

Mr. Sandys

That is the purpose of the proposals which we have put to the Six.

Mr. Speaker

Mr. Albu. Question No. 17.

Mr. Bottomley

On a point of order. In answering Question No. 16 the Secretary of State dealt with the question of the purchase of MiG aircraft by the Indian Government. Surely the House is entitled to know something more about this. I wanted to put a supplementary question.

Mr. Speaker

I understand the wish of the right hon. Gentleman, and I am sure that he will understand my difficulty. The House has managed to deal only with the majestic total of 16 Questions by 3 o'clock. I have been much too indulgent and have to restrain my instincts to be generous.

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