HC Deb 23 May 1966 vol 729 cc31-2
34. Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will take the opportunity during his talks with the French Prime Minister and Foreign Minister on the occasion of their forthcoming visit to London to discuss with them the future of Anglo-French co-operation in the European Launcher Development Organisation.

Mr. George Thomson

I hope we shall have opportunities to discuss this with our European Launcher Development Organisation partners before then, in particular at the Ministerial meeting on the European Launcher Development Organisation on 9th June.

Mr. Brute-Gardyne

But can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that no irrevocable decisions will be taken at this meeting on 9th June before the French Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary come to London? Will the right hon. Gentleman make it his business to see that the other Departments engaged in these discussions are aware of the disastrous effect which a British withdrawal from the E.L.D.O. project would have on our plans for closer relationships and perhaps entry into the European Community?

Mr. Thomson

I think that there is full awareness amongst the Departments concerned of the importance of this decision relating to the future of E.L.D.O., and we feel that it is in the interests of all member countries to ensure that the organisation's programme makes the best possible use of the technological and economic resources involved.

Mr. A. Royle

Will the Minister give the assurance for which my hon. Friend asked, namely, that the British Government will not withdraw from the E.L.D.O., in view of the damage which such a breach of faith would do to our relations with the E.E.C. countries and the prospects of our joining the E.E.C.?

Mr. Thomson

I cannot anticipate what will happen at the meeting on 9th June. Let us take first things first.

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