HC Deb 21 June 1965 vol 714 cc1172-3
7. Viscount Lambton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government with regard to a settlement of the frontiers of Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Eastern Germany.

Mr. Padley

As regards Her Majesty's Government's policy on the question of a settlement of the frontiers of Poland and Czechoslovakia, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave to a Question on this subject by my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Zilliacus) on 23rd March.

As the hon. Member will be aware from the reply which my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary gave to him on 3rd May, Her Majesty's Government do not recognise the existence of a State in East Germany. The question of a settlement of East Germany's frontiers does not, therefore, arise.

Viscount Lambton

The Foreign Secretary on 3rd May said that the Prime Minister had mentioned these discussions in the statement which the Prime Minister had spoken of on 20th December, 1961, and 5th July, 1962. Is it then the present policy of Her Majesty's Government not to advocate settlement in Eastern Europe for those three countries together and especially for a wider settlement to which the Foreign Secretary referred on 3rd May?

Mr. Padley

Certainly not. While we regret the failure so far to conclude a peace treaty with Germany, which is crucial in this matter, we cannot abandon our treaty commitments or cease to work for a peace settlement and for the possible reunification of Germany. The final determination of Germany's frontier with Poland must await the settlement of the peace treaty. On the question of the Munich Agreement and Czechoslovakia's frontiers, that position was made abundantly clear by the statement which the Foreign Secretary made when he recently visited Prague.

Mr. Peter Thomas

Does this mean that Her Majesty's Government's policy is that the frontier between Czechoslovakia and Germany should remain as it is and that any changes made after 1938 do not apply?

Mr. Padley

The answer to that is "Yes", and that was made abundantly clear by my right hon. Friend in Prague.

Mr. Zilliacus

In view of the fact that at the 1961 Labour Party Conference the policy was adopted by an overwhelming majority on the initiative of the National Executive that we should recognise the existing frontiers of Germany and recognise the existence of a second German State, and as those are the only possible terms on which Germany can be united, and as the present policy is not only unreal but an obstacle to making peace, will my hon. Friend make an effort at last to pay some attention to the policy on which we were elected?

Mr. Padley

Perhaps I might, both as Minister of State and as the Chairman of the Overseas Committee of the Labour Party, repudiate that interpretation of the decision of the 1961 Labour Party Conference.

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