HC Deb 23 February 1965 vol 707 cc230-1
Q7. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Prime Minister what official journeys abroad he proposes to take during the next three months.

The Prime Minister

The dates for my visits to West Berlin, Bonn and Paris have been announced. As has also been announced, I hope fairly soon to visit Rome but the date for this visit has not yet been fixed.

Mr. Digby

While realising that the Prime Minister cannot say very much at this stage about these visits to Germany on 6th March and to President de Gaulle on 1st April—I hope that there is no significance in the date—may I ask whether he can give an assurance, so that there is no misunderstanding, that he will keep our allies fully informed about these conversations?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. This has already been the case, and indeed, so far as certain subjects to be discussed are concerned, this is part of the general inter-allied consultation so that we can all move forward as fast as possible together in agreement on the policies that we shall be discussing.

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that there is outstanding the arrangement for an exchange of visits with the Soviet Union, and there is also the postponed visit to the United States to be fixed up at an appropriate time.

Mr. Michael Foot

When my right hon. Friend goes to Bonn, will he recall that the extraordinary pledge given by the previous Government, whereby this country is committed to keeping four divisions in Germany until the end of the century, was originally given to gratify the French Government? Will he therefore combine these operations and raise this matter with President de Gaulle when he goes there, and ask the President whether he would like to take over some of these obligations?

The Prime Minister

It is going to be rather difficult to be in both places at the same time. I think that the discussions with each country will be sufficiently difficult in respect of certain of the problems that we have before us without making them triangular in character.

Mr. Ridley

Can the Prime Minister say why he has not included in his itinerary a visit to the capital of one of the E.F.T.A. countries?

The Prime Minister

I hope it will not be too long before I do. The Question referred to the next three months. I have already met and received an official visit from the Prime Minister of Norway. The Prime Minister of Sweden visited this country in December, and I had long talks with him. The Prime Minister of Denmark has been here, and is coming again, so we are in very close communication. This afternoon I am meeting the Vice-Chancellor of Austria, and I think I can say that we are in very close consultation with the E.F.T.A. countries.