HC Deb 02 May 1966 vol 727 cc1227-8
36. Mr. Brooks

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Her Majesty's Government are now prepared to recognise the Oder-Neisse frontier as the de jure boundary between Germany and Poland.

Mr. Padley

Our position, as has been made clear on a number of occasions in this House, is that the final determination of the frontier between Germany and Poland cannot be formalised until there is a peace treaty.

Mr. Brooks

I appreciate my hon. Friend's concern for historical consistency, but will he agree that the second millennium of the Polish people deserves a better fate than the incessant frontier changes which have characterised the first 1,000 years of their history?

Mr. Padley

I have great sympathy with my hon. Friend, but the truth is that this cannot be determined until there is a German peace treaty.

Sir C. Osborne

When does the Minister expect a peace treaty, and what is he doing to help to bring one about?

Mr. Padley

Through normal diplomatic channels and meetings between Foreign Secretaries we are seeking the peaceful reunification of Germany, when the question of the Polish frontier can be settled.

Mr. Shinwell

If the present position cannot be formalised, may we have an assurance from my hon. Friend that there will be no disturbance of the present situation?

Mr. Padley

As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said on 6th December, when the question of the frontier between Germany and Poland comes finally to be settled, naturally the views of the present inhabitants of these disputed territories will be a most important factor.

Mr. Michael Foot

Will my hon. Friend represent to the Government that they should not stand on protocol in this matter and that it causes great distress to people in Poland that the suggestion should be made that this matter is still open to any decision? Everyone knows that the frontier is settled, so why cannot the British Government make the same declaration as was made, say, by the Government of France? Why must we stick to old-fashioned protocol in such matters as this?

Mr. Padley

It is not for me to define or defend the French attitude, but it is a fact that the French Government signed the Bonn Convention of 1954 and the tripartite statement of 26th June, 1964, and those are still obligations of Her Majesty's Government.