HC Deb 16 January 1964 vol 687 cc404-5
Q3. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Prime Minister, following the recent North Atlantic Treaty Organisation discussions, what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government in regard to Mr. Khrushchev's proposal for a non-aggression pact between the governments of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Warsaw Pact; and whether he will discuss the proposal with President Johnson during his forthcoming visit to Washington.

The Prime Minister

I have nothing to add at present to what my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said on the subject of non-aggression arrangements on 15th November during the debate on the Address. As I told the House on 14th January, East-West questions will obviously come up during my talks with the President.

Mr. Henderson

May I ask the Prime Minister whether discussions are now taking place among the members of N.A.T.O. on this proposal and whether the main difficulty arises from the problem of non-recognition of East Germany, which is a member of the Warsaw Pact?

The Prime Minister

I think that there are all sorts of difficulties attached to a proposal of this kind. We have always urged on the Soviet Union the desirability of settling all our disputes by negotiation. The question really is whether anagreement of this kind would apply to Berlin. I should like to talk to the right hon. and learned Gentleman about that. There are some real difficulties in this question.

Sir C. Osborne

Since President Johnson made it clear that he thought that improvement between East and West was one of the greatest issues before the civilised world, and since this Government also wish that and Mr. Khrushchev has said that he desires it, would my right hon. Friend give the House and the country an assurance that hewill do all in his power to see that whatever approaches come from the other side come to a fruitful conclusion?

The Prime Minister

I am in sympathy with the approach that we should settle all our disputes by negotiation, but this must not be used as a cover whereby in local situations subversion and other techniques may be used which could lead to a response by a free country.

Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

Is not the Prime Minister aware that Mr. Khrushchev, in making this suggestion, referred to "outlawing" violence? Is not that an immense advance on anything said before, and does it not imply that the Soviet Union is coming round to the view that it will be necessary to enforce world law? Therefore, should not this suggestion be explored to the utmost limits?

The Prime Minister

Certainly we are exploring the suggestion and, in consultation with our allies, considering how we should reply to Mr. Khrushchev's latest note. This Question relates to a treaty between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and members of the Warsaw Pact, and there are particular difficulties about that.

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