HC Deb 18 July 1966 vol 732 cc13-4
10. Mr. Zilliacus

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to what extent he has reached agreement with the other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation powers on a basis of negotiation with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics consistent with proposals for establishing a zone in Europe free of nuclear weapons, foreign forces and military alliances, comprising the two Germanies and some of Germany's neighbours.

16. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what proposals he has for discussion with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the implementation of the policy for a European nuclear-free zone and for a non-proliferation treaty.

Mr. Zilliacus

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will now initiate discussions with the Soviet and Polish Governments to work out an agreed basis of negotiation from the Rapacki-Gaitskell proposals for a nuclear-free zone in Europe, and then invite Great Britain's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to negotiate on this basis.

Mr. George Thomson

I will, with permission, answer this Question, Question No. 16 and Written Question No. 4 together.

I would refer my hon. Friends to my reply to the hon. Members for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose) and Renfrew, West (Mr. Buchan) on 11th July and to my right hon. Friend's statement in the foreign affairs debate on that day.

Mr. Zilliacus

In view of the urgent need for cutting our military commitments, is it not time that the Government made a real effort to apply the party's policy which would enable us to bring home the forces now on the Rhine?

Mr. Thomson

The Government are making continual efforts to improve East-West relations and to move towards a more secure position in Europe. The policies we are pursuing are in direct line with the policies which this party has always put forward.

Mrs. Short

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Labour movement in this House and outside is very concerned that there is so little progress in this field? Is he aware that it is impossible to make any political progress towards a political solution of the problems that divide Europe until we get these matters decided?

Mr. Speaker rose

Mrs. Short

Is he also aware that Britain's continued support of the war—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Lady must resume her seat when Mr. Speaker stands. Questions must not be too long.

Mr. Thomson

I think there is concern everywhere about the need to make the maximum possible progress in better East-West relations. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has recently taken a particular initiative in this respect with his proposed code of co-operation between Eastern and Western countries in Europe.

Sir T. Beamish

In considering both these Questions, is the Minister bearing in mind the point of view of the hon. Members who have asked them that the the country's economic difficulties are sufficient reason for dishonouring our obligations?