HC Deb 01 March 1965 vol 707 cc907-8
6. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what plans he has to achieve closer and more friendly relations with France during 1965.

68. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps he is taking to improve Anglo-French relations.

73. Mr. Bence

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what progress is being made in increasing co-operation with France.

Mr. M. Stewart

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and I look forward to discussing ways of improving relations with France when we meet General de Gaulle and his Ministers during our visit to Paris in April.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

When the right hon. Gentleman sees General de Gaulle, will he bear in mind that the important question between us and France is whether or not we should enter the Common Market? Will he tell his right hon. Friend to say to General de Gaulle that the Government are now willing to drop those very rigid requirements of the late Mr. Gaitskell relating to the freedom of our foreign policy and national planning and that we are now more flexible on those counts?

Mr. Stewart

As my right hon. Friend told the House on 16th February, the position is that there is no reason to believe that the circumstances which led to the breakdown of the Brussels negotiations have changed. Given that situation, we want the best relations with France that we can get, but there are many other questions involved besides the Common Market.

Mr. Hamilton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the whole nation was very glad to learn at the weekend of the practical examples of improved relations between this country and France as evidenced by the talks of my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Defence and the Minister of Aviation with their counterparts in France? Can my right hon. Friend give an assurance that there will be further evidence of this kind of practical co-operation in the very near future?

Mr. Stewart

Yes, Sir. There are good prospects for close Anglo-French co-operation in a number of fields, and we hope to see the number of those fields increase.

Mr. Bence

Can my right hon. Friend give an assurance that as far forward as he can see the functional co-operation with France will have no deleterious effect on our co-operation with E.F.T.A.?

Mr. Stewart

Indeed. We do not want discussions with France to be to the prejudice of joint projects in which other European countries might be concerned.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Are not General de Gaulle's ideas for Europe much larger than the Common Market, and should not our own be no less large?

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