HC Deb 04 July 1967 vol 749 cc1560-2
Q3. Mr. Molloy

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement relating to the progress made with Great Britain's application to join the European Economic Community.

The Prime Minister

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is today making a statement at a meeting of the Council of Western European Union in The Hague. The text will be published in a White Paper later today.

Mr. Molloy

Will my right hon. Friend agree that, not being in the Common Market, Great Britain has nevertheless in the last couple of years made remarkable recovery to economic stability—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I know that this recovery is upsetting hon. Members opposite. Will my right hon. Friend, further, agree that the Government, supported by both Opposition parties, in their efforts to get into the E.E.C. are now reaching the equivalent stage of applying the kiss of life to a dead duck?

The Prime Minister

I rather take issue with my hon. Friend because I know that all hon. Members opposite are delighted that we are now in balance of payments surplus, even if they do not say so, but it has never been our view that if we failed to get into the Common Market it would not be passible for Britain to survive and prosper. It is, provided our efforts are adequate. As we see it, we shall have a better chance to expand and to contribute to a meaningful Europe if we can be accepted into membership.

Mr. David Howell

Is the right hon. Gentleman trying to reach a transitional associate status for Britain?

The Prime Minister

I do not think that is an idea which we should be contemplating. We have made an application to join. This was discussed by the Council of Ministers last week and resulted in the suggestion that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary should address the W.E.U. today. He is making a major speech on the application, which will be available to hon. Members some time this afternoon.

Mr. Grimond

Will the Prime Minister say whether the statement by the Foreign Secretary gives any indication of what the next Government move will be, and when it will be carried out?

The Prime Minister

The Government's move has been made in the form of the application which went at the beginning of May to the three Communities. It was thought last week desirable to make progress with the basic statement of our position in relation to an application such as the one made by the right hon. Member for Bexley (Mr. Heath) on, I believe, 10th October, 1961, and that this should now be made at W.E.U., and it is being made today. As soon as my right hon. Friend has sat down, copies of his speech will be available in the Library and a White Paper with the full text will also be available later this evening.

Mr. Alfred Morris

Can my right hon. Friend say what further White Papers the House can expect to receive? When shall we, for example, be receiving a White Paper on means for ensuring strong and binding safeguards for the trade and other interests of Commonwealth countries? Will there be a White Paper on technology giving the information which General de Gaulle has already had?

The Prime Minister

I should like notice on the question of White Papers. On the first suggestion, the question of Commonwealth interests and matters which were so fully debated here in May will, of course, feature in my right hon. Friend's speech. He will also have something to say about technology in his speech.