HC Deb 22 December 1964 vol 704 cc1051-2
Q9. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Prime Minister what discussions he had with the President of the United States of America on matters relating to shipping which were in controversy; and whether unanimity resulted.

The Prime Minister

As regards the Washington talks, it would not be right for me to go beyond the scope of the joint communiqué but we hope that the progress achieved through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development last week in resolving differences with the United States authorities on shipping policy will be maintained.

Dame Irene Ward

May I ask, because it really was not quite clear from the communiqué, whether it was the Prime Minister's conversation with President Johnson which produced the communiqué, or whether it arose out of ordinary trade and commercial considerations and decisions? Would I be right in assuming that the decisions had been taken before he had his conversation, if he had one, with President Johnson?

The Prime Minister

It is not usual to go into detail in talks with the President of the United States and similar talks, but I think I can say that our position in this matter is exactly the same as that of the previous Government with regard to shipping, and I think that the position of the Government is fully understood in the United States. I am not claiming that any talks in Washington this month have led to the improved situation at O.E.C.D., though I join the hon. Lady in hoping that that progress will be maintained.

Mr. Shinwell

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that there are some outstanding bilateral problems relating to shipping which call for some further consideration? Although there has been some easement of some of the problems which exist, would not it be a wise move if one of his right hon. Friends, perhaps the President of the Board of Trade or the Minister for Economic Affairs, took the opportunity of having discussions to remove some of the difficulties of a bilateral character which exists?

The Prime Minister

I agree with my right hon. Friend that there are some big outstanding questions, and I was not trying to suggest that what happened at O.E.C.D. was more than a step in the right direction, but I am satisfied that the United States Government know of our position on this, and if anything further is needed to bring the problem to their attention we shall not hesitate to take whatever steps are necessary.

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