HC Deb 15 June 1967 vol 748 cc770-1
Q3. Mr. Whitaker

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make it an aim of Government policy to spend at least as much on aid to under-developed countries as on arms.

The Prime Minister

The Government's policies on aid and defence are already well known, Sir, and I have no change to announce today.

Mr. Whitaker

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that this would be a more effective way of preventing the spread of Communism, and would he not agree, as he wrote in his excellent book "The war on world poverty", that the principal threats to world peace in future are likely to come from the increasing gap between the rich and the poor countries?

The Prime Minister

Certainly that is one of the major causes of unrest and subversion and of threats to peace in many parts of the world. In fact, in real terms the defence programme has already been cut by about one-third compared with the level at which it was running when that book was written.

Mr. Walters

Is the Prime Minister aware how much our friends in Europe deplore the fact that as well as going to Washington to discuss the crisis in the Middle East the Prime Minister did not make some attempt to discuss it with European statesmen?

The Prime Minister

I am sorry if the hon. Gentleman thinks that the President of France is not a European statesman, because I will be discussing this with him next week. In addition, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed this matter at some length in Luxembourg with a wide number of European statesmen, Foreign Ministers and others, during his visit this week. I hope that the hon. Gentleman is not suggesting that I should personally visit every European country.

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