HC Deb 28 January 1964 vol 688 cc203-4
Q5. Mr. Henderson

asked the Prime Minister what progress has been made with the discussions with allied Governments on the proposals contained in the letter to him from Mr. Khrushchev, dated 31st December.

Q4. Mr. Rankin

asked the Prime Minister what recent exchanges he has had with Mr. Khrushchev with a view to developing closer Anglo-Soviet relations and reducing the risks of war.

Q10. Sir T. Moore

asked the Prime Minister what reply he has sent or proposes sending to Mr. Khrushchev in response to his letter to him suggesting an international agreement to outlaw force as a means of settling international disputes.

The Prime Minister

Mr. Khrushchev sent me a message, dated 31st December, about the settlement of territorial disputes. My reply was delivered in Moscow on 24th January, and has since been published.

Mr. Henderson

In view of the fact that the Prime Minister, together with President Johnson, agreed with the proposals contained in this letter of Mr. Khrushchev, may I ask the Prime Minister whether the initiative for the next step rests with Mr. Khrushchev? Secondly, is it the view of the Government that any such agreement should cover the situation in Berlin and its access routes?

The Prime Minister

There are a number of Governments—Mr. Khrushchev addressed his proposals to all the Governments—which have not yet replied. I imagine that Mr. Khrushchev will want to wait until he gets those replies. It is certainly very important that any arrangement made should apply to Berlin and other particular situations of that kind.

Sir T. Moore

In view of any future exchanges which my right hon. Friend may have with Mr. Khrushchev, would he bear in mind the promises that Mr. Khrushchev has recently made and repeated to his own people about better houses, better clothing, better food and so on, which, of course, demand more people on building sites, in factories and on farms? Would he perhaps think it might be a useful thing to take Mr. Khrushchev at his word and so prepare the way for speedier and further negotiations?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. I am also trying to arrive at an arrangement with Mr. Khrushchev in this matter which will pledge us all to settle all our disputes by negotiation, but if the first question which is asked is "Does this apply to Berlin?" and the answer is "No", such an arrangement would be of little value.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Does the Prime Minister recognise that this letter from Mr. Khrushchev was in large part addressed to new nations in Africa and Asia and talked a great deal of good commonsense about their disputes? Will the right hon. Gentleman make every effort to secure this kind of agreement?

The Prime Minister

Yes, we will make every effort so long as the agreement when reached is real.