HC Deb 10 February 1969 vol 777 cc879-80
32. Mr. Dodds-Parker

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further proposals to create institutionalised relations between the countries of the European Economic Community and the United Kingdom were agreed at the recent Western European Union meeting at Luxembourg.

Mr. Mulley

Six delegations agreed that before taking any decisions on certain foreign policy questions they will consult with their Western European Union partners to further the adoption of positions agreed and harmonised to the fullest possible extent. The French delegation said that it would make its views known later.

We regard this outcome as opening the way to a co-ordinated European position on foreign policy questions. Her Majesty's Government intend to do all we can to ensure progress in this direction.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Might not the proposal that N.A.T.O. ambassadors be used as a standing group serve this purpose?

Mr. Mulley

I do not think that the ambassadors within N.A.T.O. would necessarily be appropriate, because N.A.T.O. is not a strictly European organisation. The machinery proposed is that of the Council of Western European Union, which is most appropriate for this purpose. As hon. Members will have noted, my right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary has asked for early consultations in this area on the whole question of the Middle East.

Mr. Philip Noel-Baker

In view of the great importance of this new departure, will my right hon. Friend publish a White Paper explaining exactly what was agreed and the trend of the discussion that took place?

Mr. Mulley

It would be a little early to publish a White Paper, but I will certainly pass on my right hon. Friend's suggestion to my right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary. I very much hope that we can make progress, but it is as yet too early to say until the new machinery has been firmly established.