HC Deb 17 December 1964 vol 704 cc559-60
Q1. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Prime Minister when he expects to visit Paris for discussions with the President of France.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

Our two Governments are in consultation about a date.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Would the Prime Minister bear in mind that it is very urgent for him to see General de Gaulle to heal the breaches over the Concord project and the imports surcharge? Will he also remember the awful warning that the last Head of State called Wilson to go to Paris was President Wilson and that things did not come out too well after that?

The Prime Minister

Yes,Sir—very funny. I am well aware of the need to do everything we can to improve relations with France. But I thought that the worst moment of our relations with France was in the speeches of the then Prime Minister, and in the speech, which we all understood, of the then Lord Privy Seal, when they said what they thought about the end of the Common Market negotiations. I hope that we shall not get back to anything like that.

Mr. Jeger

If my right hon. Friend is going to Paris, will he make sure that he is paired?

Sir A. V. Harvey

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the best way to improve relations with France, or with any other country, is by trade, and that the sooner the Concord project can be cleared up to the satisfaction of both sides the better it will be for Britain and for France?

The Prime Minister

Discussions are going on with the French Government about that. I find it a little difficult to reconcile the conflicting views of Opposition Members on this. In the case of the surcharge, they complain that we have done this without consultation. In the case of Concord, they complain that we asked for a review before coming to a decision.