HC Deb 20 June 1966 vol 730 cc34-5
59. Lord Balniel

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement about his discussions in Brussels on the future of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. George Thomson)

I have nothing to add to the Answer my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary gave on 14th June to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer).

Lord Balniel

While welcoming the attempts by N.A.T.O. to take the initiative in improving the political.situation between East and West Europe, may I ask the Minister whether he agrees that the basic reaction to the challenge by France to N.A.T.O. must be to reinforce the integration of N.A.T.O., including integration with the United States, rather than to weaken it?

Mr. Thomson

Our purpose at the Brussels meeting was not in any way to isolate France, but, in the face of the French decision, to strengthen N.A.T.O., and this we succeeded in doing in complete agreement with the 14 members of the alliance, apart from France. On the point about East-West exchanges, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary put forward constructive proposals for a code of co-operation on East-West relations.

Mr. Shinwell

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is still some doubt about whether the French intend to remain in N.A.T.O, or become merely an associate of N.A.T.O. in some mysterious form? May we have a full statement to clarify the position?

Mr. Thomson

I think that my right hon. Friend explained the situation very fully as it stands at the moment in his statement to the House on 14th June. The French Government have indicated that they wish to withdraw from the integrated organisation, but to remain a member of the Alliance. We are at present seeking the means to make it possible for France, in her own words, to remain the ally of an ally.

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