HC Deb 15 June 1964 vol 696 cc905-7
4. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on his participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Ministerial Council meeting in The Hague.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I attended the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Ministerial spring meeting at The Hague from 12th May to 14th May. The proceedings of the North Atlantic Council are confidential, but I can say that the meeting gave a valuable opportunity to review the state of the Alliance and a number of current problems. I will, with permission, circulate the text of the communiqué in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Stonehouse

Is the Foreign Secretary aware that the communiqué did not convey very much information, particularly on the important subject of the mixed-manned force? Could he say whether he informed the Foreign Ministers attending the Council meeting that the United Kingdom could not participate in the mixed-manned force and would object if the United States and Germany went ahead without the agreement of the rest of the Alliance?

Mr. Butler

The latter proposition was never mentioned at the N.A.T.O. meeting. As for the first part of the question, it has always been made quite clear that Great Britain would take part in the discussions of the multilateral force but had not made a decision as to whether to join that force.

Mr. Stonehouse

Can the Foreign Secretary say when a decision will be made and that, in the meantime, objections will be made to proposals as outlined in The Times this morning that Germany should be involved in a direct alliance with the United States in the development of this scheme?

Mr. Butler

When we get a little further with the discussions about the nature of the force we shall also have to take into consideration such developments as that to which the hon. Member referred.

The following is the communiqué:

The North Atlantic Council held its Spring Ministerial Meeting at The Hague from 12th to 14th May, 1964.

2. Ministers reviewed the international situation. They discussed the annual political appraisal of the state of the Alliance presented by the Secretary-General. They emphasised the rôle of the Atlantic Alliance as the indispensable guardian of security and peace, and thus as the prerequisite for social and economic progress.

3. Ministers reaffirmed their determination to achieve a genuine relaxation of tension in international relations. Although in recent months no serious crises have arisen in Europe, the U.S.S.R. has nevertheless continued to try to exert differing forms of pressure. The Communist countries continue their various efforts to extend their system to the whole world. The fundamental causes of tension in the world therefore persist.

14. In particular, no solution has yet been found for the problems of Germany and Berlin. The Council reaffirmed that a just and peaceful solution to the problem of Germany can be reached only on the basis of the right of self-determination, and agreed that every suitable opportunity should be taken to bring nearer to realisation the wish of the German people for reunification in freedom, and thereby ensure an enduring peace in Central Europe. This problem will continue to be examined. The Council also reaffirmed that the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany is the only German Government freely and legitimately constituted and therefore entitled to speak for Germany as the representative of the German people in international affairs. With regard to Berlin, the Alliance stands by the terms of its Declaration of 16th December, 1958.

5. Ministers noted with satisfaction that limited steps had recently been taken towards arresting the arms race. They reiterated their desire to bring about a settlement of the basic problems of disarmament, but noted that such a prospect would remain remote as long as the Soviet Union refused to accept effective measures of control and inspection.

6. In present circumstances, the memoers of the Alliance are in duty bound to improve their overall defensive capability. They will strengthen their unity by extending and deepening their political consultation. They will intensify their economic effort in order to raise living standards, whether of their own peoples or in developing countries.

7. Ministers, referring to the previous resolution concerning the study of the military and economic problems of the defence of the South-Eastern region of N.A.T.O., expressed the wish that the conclusions of this study be submitted at the next Ministerial Meeting.

8. Ministers expressed their concern at the situation in this region arising from the continuing disorders in Cyprus. They reaffirmed the full support of their Governments for the action decided on by the United Nations Organisation with a view to restoring law and order, and for the efforts of the mediator appointed by the United Nations to seek an agreed solution of the problem.

9. Ministers expressed their deep regret at the impending departure of Mr. Dirk U. Stikker, who had announced his intention of retiring from the Secretary-Generalship of the Organisation. In their tributes to Mr. Stikker, who was one of those who signed the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949, Ministers expressed their profound appreciation of his outstanding services to the Alliance.

10. The Council invited Signor Manlio Brosio, former Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister in the Italian Government and at present Italian Ambassador in Paris, to become Secretary-General of the Organisation in succession to Mr. Stikker as from 1st August, 1964. Signor Brosio has informed the Council of his acceptance of this invitation.

11. The next Ministerial Meeting will be held in Paris in December, 1964.