HC Deb 11 April 1967 vol 744 cc967-8
Q5. Mr. St. John-Stevas

asked the Prime Minister whether he will now make an application for Great Britain to join the European Economic Community.

The Prime Minister

I have as yet nothing to add to the Answer I gave on 4th April to a supplementary question by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kettering (Sir G. de Freitas).—[Vol. 744, c. 30.]

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Does the Prime Minister realise that I have been trying to get an answer to this Question for nearly three years? Will he give an undertaking that he will not be sitting there in three years' time still declining to give a clear answer?

The Prime Minister

While my right hon. Friends and I will still be sitting here in three years' time and for much longer, I hope that I shall have given the hon. Gentleman his answer long before that. I have made it plain that we are studying this matter very deeply. It involves a very important decision and we shall give an answer as soon as we can.

Q8. Mr. Heffer

asked the Prime Minister what further discussions have been held with the French Government regarding a possible application by Great Britain to join the European Economic Community; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

None on a bilateral basis, though there was the customary exchange of views on Britain's relations with the European Economic Community at the quarterly ministerial meeting of the Council of Western European Union in Rome last week.

Mr. Heffer

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that it is of vital importance that the French should understand clearly that we are not America's Trojan horse in Europe and that both Britain and France have a vital part to play in the growth of technology in Europe?

The Prime Minister

These considerations have been very much in the minds of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and myself in our visits to European capitals. Certainly the technology argument is one of the strongest. There have been no recent talks of a bilateral nature since our series of visits ended.

Lord Balniel

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that leaks from the Parliamentary Labour Party are comparable with the leaks from the "Torrey Canyon"? Is he further aware that the Press is full of differing versions of what the Foreign Secretary said about President de Gaulle? In view of this, will the right hon. Gentleman consider issuing a White Paper on the outcome of the talks in European capitals?

The Prime Minister

Leaks from the Parliamentary Labour Party, like leaks from the "Torrey Canyon", are usually the subject of misplaced party capital by hon. Members opposite. I am considering still the question of making more widely available the information disclosed at that meeting. We will consider whether the Foreign Secretary's speech, which I heard, should be made available in its fuller form, and will also consider the alternative of publishing a White Paper.