HC Deb 30 June 1966 vol 730 cc2172-3
23. Mr. Zilliacus

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs whether he will take the initiative in the Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations to make that body the connecting link between the European Free Trade Association and the European Economic Community in the West, and Comecon in the East, in order to promote East-West trade and all-European co-operation on such matters as investment, banking and finance, transport and communications and the distribution of power.

Mr. George Brown

I do not think that such an initiative would be fruitful.

Mr. Zilliacus

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many of us on these benches would much prefer the Government to make a real effort, through the United Nations, to tie the whole of Europe together in a network of common interest rather than to try to muscle into the capitalist, cold-war west end of Europe and thereby perpetuate the division of Europe?

Mr. Brown

I certainly do not accept the words with which my hon. Friend poses the problem. I am bound to say that tying the whole of Europe together in the way that he described would be a formidable undertaking at the moment.

Dr. David Owen

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many of us on this side of the House look towards our entry into the Common Market as a first step and do not exclude that we can continue from there to join a wider Europe?

Mr. Brown

I am obliged to my hon. Friend. He will remember that at Stockholm I was at some pains to point out that in our view Europe does not end where the Communist countries begin.