HC Deb 02 April 1963 vol 675 cc244-5
Q4. Mr. A Henderson

asked the Prime Minister to what extent diplomatic discussions are now taking place with a view to arranging a summit conference between President Kennedy, Mr. Krushchev and himself.

The Prime Minister

Any diplomatic discussions of this kind would be confidential.

Mr. Henderson

May I ask the Prime Minister whether any consideration is being given to the establishment of direct communications between the three heads of Government, whether by tele-tape or radio-telephone, to enable discussions to take place on such problems as the deadlock on the number of on-site inspections?

The Prime Minister

The actual method of discussion is one question. The important thing is whether discussions should or should not be arranged.

Sir C. Osborne

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether it would not be in the interest of the West itself to try to meet Mr. Khrushchev, since it would be a terrible tragedy for the world if he were to be replaced by a new Stalinist in Russia? Since Mr. Khrushchev has risked so much to try and get peace and co-operation with the West, should we not do all we can to meet him?

The Prime Minister

We are indeed hoping that we shall be able to get agreement, arid I am in close contact with the President on the best method of proceeding.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

In the course of writing to Mr. Khrushchev last year, the right hon. Gentleman said that he would be ready to go to Geneva at any moment if there were a deadlock. Does the right hon. Gentleman not think that there is a deadlock now?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. The proceedings have been very long, but there has been some movement. The next question is whether we can get some further movement.