HC Deb 05 February 1963 vol 671 cc238-9
Q10. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Prime Minister to what extent during his last conversations with President de Gaulle he discussed a possible new approach to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The Prime Minister

As I have already said, these conversations were confidential and I am not prepared to add to what has already been said about them.

Mr. Hughes

Is not the Prime Minister aware that in every capital of the world discussions are taking place about the possibility of General de Gaulle starting a new approach to the Soviet Union? In view of the fact that he himself started an approach, how can the Prime Minister object to this attitude if General de Gaulle adopts it? Will the right hon. Gentleman keep an open mind regarding any initiative from any quarter likely to bring about better relations with the U.S.S.R., which would be welcomed throughout the world?

The Prime Minister

That is another question. We have received no information on the subject from the French Government. We are to debate this matter at length, and I will bear in mind what the hon. Gentleman has said.

Sir C. Osborne

In view of the fact that the action of General de Gaulle is likely to make it more difficult for us to sell our goods in Europe, ought not we to take every possible step to increase East-West trade as a means of compensation?

The Prime Minister

We have been doing that to a great extent over a long period. I think that what the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) had in mind was a political rather than an economic initiative.

Forward to