HC Deb 21 July 1969 vol 787 cc1217-8
15. Mr. Luard

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether at the discussions on the future of Intelsat now taking place in Washington, the British representative will support proposals to bring Intelsat under United Nations auspices.

Mr. Mulley

I am not aware of any such proposals.

Mr. Luard

Whatever the exact relationship that is established between Intelsat and the I.T.U. or any other body of the United Nations, does my right hon. Friend not agree that it is extremely important to ensure that the management of the system is taken out of the hands of a body which is virtually a national organisation and that the voting powers of the governing council of this organisation are made sufficiently equitable to ensure that the body can be seen to be a purely international body and not a national organisation?

Mr. Mulley

I agree that Intelsat should be organised to allow the fullest participation of all members, and that is one of the substantial matters now under discussion in the negotiations which are going on. But I do not think there is any question that the international status of Intelsat should be changed. It is a successful commercial enterprise; its membership is open to all members of the United Nations and its agencies, and we hope that many other States will join the 68 existing members.

Mr. Wood

May I take this opportunity to congratulate the American Government and people on the superb achievement last night?

In relation to Intelsat, will the right hon. Gentleman say what proposals he has for putting this on a permanent basis?

Mr. Mulley

We have already had some preliminary negotiations for the future of Intelsat and there is a preparatory committee, of which we are members, sitting at the present time. There is a further conference towards the end of the year which I hope will give the definitive agreement we want.

I should like to endorse very strongly what the right hon. Gentleman said about last night's achievement. I am sure that it is the wish of all parties in the House to extend to the American Government our warmest congratulations at the tremendous achievement of those men last night.

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

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