HC Deb 09 July 1963 vol 680 cc1043-5
Q5. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Prime Minister to what extent the Lord President of the Council, in his visit to Moscow, will be authorised to discuss the question of a non-aggression pact with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Q7. Mr. John Rankin

asked the Prime Minister to what extent it is Her Majesty's Government's policy that a test ban agreement should be dependent on achieving a non-aggression pact or vice versa.

The Prime Minister

I do not think that it would be helpful for me to discuss these matters in any detail at the present time.

Mr. Hughes

Since the Prime Minister himself was such a strong supporter of the idea of a non-aggression pact, especially when he went to Moscow, does not he think that it would be a retrograde step if the British Government did not support the idea now?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir, but, as I explained in the debate, we all want these negotiations to succeed, and I am sure that it would not be wise at this moment, when they are just about to begin, for me to try to make this point or that or single out this or that issue. It would be much better to let them proceed and hope for a good result.

Mr. Rankin

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that just a week ago in East Berlin Mr. Khrushchev took the opportunity of saying that a test ban agreement combined with a simultaneous signing of a non-aggression pact would create a new international climate? Does the right hon. Gentleman agree with that sentiment and will he say whether or not these two should stand together or fall together?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I repeat that we are hopeful that these negotiations carried on by the Americans, ourselves and the Russians will succeed, I hope, in the complete ban, or, if that fails, as we said in the debate, in a partial ban. Butit would not be helpful to what we all want if I were to enter into the details of that or make any comments on what has been said.

Mr. A. Henderson

Is the Prime Minister aware that many of us on this side of the House share his hope that these negotiations will be completely successful?

The Prime Minister

I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman.

Sir C. Osborne

Will my right hon. Friend assure the Lord President of the Council that all reasonable people of all parties in the country wish him well and hope that he comes back successful?