HC Deb 29 May 1963 vol 678 cc1299-300
14. Mr. Warbey

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the official protest made by the West German Foreign Minister against the refusal of Her Majesty's Government to be bound by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation decision on the export of large-diameter steel pipes to the Soviet Union.

Mr. Heath

The Federal German Government have made known to Her Majesty's Government their views on the export of large-diameter pipe to the Soviet Union on several occasions, though not as an official protest. Likewise, Her Majesty's Government have explained their position to the Federal German authorities, either through the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or directly, both before and after the matter was discussed in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation last year.

Mr. Warbey

Is the Lord Privy Seal aware that the German Foreign Secretary has twice called him a liar in public by saying that the British Government were bound, and knew that they were bound, by the N.A.T.O. decision? Will he now tell the House the whole truth about this secret decision, which ought never to have been secret? Was it a decision or a recommendation, and did Her Majesty's Government make clear their position that they would not be bound by it when it was made?

Mr. Heath

The hon. Gentleman is, as usual, completely misrepresenting the views of Herr Schröder; and this matter has been clearly stated to the House on many occasions.

Sir C. Osborne

Since West Germany is making strenuous efforts to increase her trade with the Soviets, is it reasonable to allow West Germany to play dog in the manger and prevent us from supplying these oil pipes in view of the fact that if we do not supply them the Soviets will themselves start to make them?

Mr. Heath

The Federal Republic have stopped, by their own action, the export of this piping to the Soviet Union. The question of increasing trade is, of course, a matter both for ourselves and the Federal German Republic in other matters. On this particular matter of large-diameter piping we have made our position quite clear.

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