HC Deb 27 February 1967 vol 742 cc71-4
8. Mr. Rose

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's policy on the existing frontiers of Germany, including both the German Federal Republic and the German Democratic Republic.

Mr. George Brown

The policy of Her Majesty's Government to which they are committed by treaty, is that the final

and the number coming from the rest of the country's schools has gone up from 34 per cent. to 42 per cent.

Following is the information:

determination of the boundaries of Germany must await a peace settlement.

Mr. Rose

Is my right hon. Friend aware that any change in the frontiers can only come about through war? Is not this present uncertainty conducive to nationalism in Germany, and does it not stand in way of a dêtente in Europe? In view of that, will my right hon. Friend make it quite unequivocally certain that this Government stand by the present frontiers of Germany?

Mr. Brown

I repeat that the frontiers of Germany, to which we are committed by treaty, can be finally determined only when there is a peace treaty. On the general question that my hon. Friend raises, many others are involved in bringing matters to that point.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

What progress did the Foreign Secretary make with Mr. Kosygin in discussing a peace treaty with Germany?

Mr. Brown

The discussion of a peace treaty with Germany—[HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."]—must await discussions with very many others who are involved. The talks with Mr. Kosygin were a very valuable part of this process.

Mr. Dickens

Notwithstanding the forthcoming peace conference and treaty on East Germany's frontiers, will my right hon. Friend state whether or not he accepts the proposition that the uncertainty about these frontiers is a threat to peace in Central Europe? What discussions did he have last week with the Polish Foreign Minister on this very important question?

Mr. Brown

If my hon. Friend would care to table a Question on the latter point, I should be very glad to answer him. On the general question, I believe that uncertainty about the situation in Central Europe is a factor which is disturbing; but I repeat that there are many others involved in bringing this to an end and the moves which not only we but the Federal Government of Germany and others are making towards a dètente are all to be welcomed in this respect.

Mr. Walters

Does not the Foreign Secretary regret the fact that some of the statements about Germany which Mr. Kosygin made when he was in London were not repudiated a little more robustly in public by the British Government?

Mr. Brown

I think that it would have been the most utter and absolute mistake to have engaged in public polemics with Mr. Kosygin. The hon. Gentleman may be quite assured, if he requires the assurance, that we spoke very robustly to Mr. Kosygin during our talks.

Mr. John Hynd

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that we are not likely to achieve a satisfactory overall settlement of these problems by unilateral pronouncements across frontiers? That will not help towards reaching a peace conference. Is it the fact, as has been implied, that it is Her Majesty's Government who have been holding up such a conference where the matter can be settled?

Mr. Brown

The answer to that is, "No, Sir".

Mr. Longden

Does the Foreign Secretary think that the Prime Minister of this country would have taken the opportunity of a banquet in Prague to abuse the Soviet Union and other allies of the Czech Government?

Mr. Brown

Whatever the hon. Gentleman may think about it, I repeat that I do not regard the public expression of that kind of view as very helpful to the operation we are engaged in.

Mr. Maxwell

Will my right hon. Friend take it for granted that we on this side of the House—

Hon. Members

Hear. hear.

Mr. Maxwell

—are delighted at the way he dealt with this matter; but, arising out of the question of Germany's frontiers, may I ask him whether Her Majesty's Government support West Germany on her stand about the Sudeten 1938 Munich Treaty with Czechoslovakia still being valid, or whether he agrees with me that it is null and void?

Mr. Brown

May I join the rest of the House in welcoming "Chairman Ma" back to the House. Chancellor Kiesinger has already stated that the Federal Government do not dispute the Czechoslovakian frontiers and regard the Munich agreement, which came about under duress, as no longer valid.