HC Deb 05 February 1963 vol 671 cc237-8
Q8. Mr. Rankin

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the outcome of his visit to the Italian Prime Minister.

Q9. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his recent official visit to Rome.

The Prime Minister

I would refer hon. Members to the joint communiqué issued after my talks with Signor Fanfani.

Mr. Rankin

Is the Minister aware that I read that joint statement with interest? May I ask whether he will give further thought to his suggestion of a link-up between Western European Union and N.A.T.O., for the reason that W.E.U. was formed to oppose German rearmament and N.A.T.O. was formed to promote it? How can the right hon. Gentleman reconcile the synthesis of these opposites, unless it means that he is now determined to proceed with the total rearmament of Western Germany, including nuclear rearmament?

The Prime Minister

I can reconcile the synthesis only by accepting neither the premise nor the conclusion.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Can the Prime Minister tell us to what extent he advised the Italian Prime Minister to come in over an independent deterrent and half-a-dozen Polaris submarines, and whether in his reply the Italian Prime Minister said he could not be independent because Italy is buying oil from the Soviet Union?

The Prime Minister

I do not wish to add to the communiqué, but I think it was made clear that the Italian Government welcomed the proposals made at Nassau with regard to the N.A.T.O. position about the deterrent.

Mr. Wade

Is it the intention of Her Majesty's Government to take the initiative in proposing closer political unity in Europe, which, presumably, is not ruled out by the breakdown of negotiations for entry into the European Economic Community?

The Prime Minister

All these are large questions which were discussed. I understand that we are to have a two-day debate on this matter, the situation resulting from the breakdown of the Brussels negotiations, and I think that they would be more easily dealt with in that debate.

Mr. Edelman

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is possible to be in favour of European unity without necessarily being in favour of the Treaty of Rome? In the circumstances, is not there a great area of co-operation open to those who are in favour of the Treaty of Rome and to those who are opposed to it in connection with the unification of Europe?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. I always understood that the hon. Gentleman was in favour of both!