HC Deb 20 May 1965 vol 712 cc1663-5
Q6. Mr. Jackson

asked the Prime Minister when he proposes to visit India.

The Prime Minister

I have accepted invitations in principle to visit India, Pakistan and Malaysia, but no firm dates have yet been fixed.

Mr. Jackson

Is the Prime Minister aware that, after his visits to Washington, Bonn, Paris and Rome, his visit to New Delhi will be greatly welcomed as a sign that Britain under a Labour Government has a vital rôle to play in peace-keeping in the Far East?

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

The Prime Minister

When the noise has subsided, I think that the whole House will feel that Britain has a very important rôle to play, not only in the peace-keeping operations there, but also—as in the recent critical situation on the Indo-Pakistan borders—as a mediator to help to avoid serious difficulties between Commonwealth countries. As my hon. Friend realises, in advance of the visit which I hope to pay to these countries, we shall have the opportunity of a conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

Can the Prime Minister say how Mr. Kosygin's visit will be fitted into the pattern of visits? Is it still on?

The Prime Minister

I am not sure how this arises out of the Question about India, but we are still in touch with the Soviet Government, both about the visit of the Soviet Prime Minister to this country and about my own visit to the Soviet Union. I am sorry to say that I never saw similar enthusiasm on the part of the right hon. Gentleman for visits of this importance when he was in office.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

Perhaps the Prime Minister will allow me to remind him that I signed the Test Ban Treaty in Moscow.

The Prime Minister

Yes, the right hon. Gentleman had one visit to Moscow, when all the work had been done—[HON. MEMBERS: "Cheap."] It had been initialled before he went. So far as active talks with the Soviet Union were concerned, I do not remember that the right hon. Gentleman, either as Foreign Secretary or as Prime Minister, did very much to bridge the gap by personal visits of that character.

Mr. Ridsdale

Is the Prime Minister aware that it would be far better for him to stay at home and deal with the serious labour situation than to go abroad?

The Prime Minister

Hon. Gentlemen opposite had better make up their minds where they want—[Interruption.]—I know that they are always very anxious to see me here at Question Time. I have seen that they spend half their time telling the Press what a rough time they are going to give me at Question Time. I have not noticed it yet.

Sir W. Teeling

Before the right hon. Gentleman goes to India will he get in touch with the High Commissioner and ask him for a list of British subjects who might be suffering from the complaints about which I was talking earlier?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir, and, as I said, if the hon. Gentleman will give me a list of any other names of people he knows who are being neglected I will be glad to look into them.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is my right hon. Friend aware that he has been less than fair to the Leader of the Opposition? Is he aware that when the Leader of the Opposition went to Moscow he made two excellent speeches—the most wonderful speeches he had made in his life—in which he asked, "Why should we quarrel with the Russians?"?