HC Deb 02 February 1970 vol 795 cc14-5
14. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criteria require to be satisfied before Her Majesty's Government recognise the German Democratic Republic as a sovereign State.

Mr. George Thomson

In the particular case of the German Democratic Republic, apart from the normal general criteria for recognition as a state, Her Majesty's Government would also have to be satisfied that recognition was compatible with their international obligations and, in particular, with their special responsibilities for Berlin and Germany as a whole.

Mrs. Short

Is my right hon. Friend aware that several of our European partners—West Germany, France, Italy and Sweden, to mention only some—have already gone beyond de facto recognition? If he looks at our export figures to the German Democratic Republic and those of the countries I have mentioned, he will see that we are suffering from our outdated attitude, and will he do something about it?

Mr. Thomson

I cannot accept the premise on which my hon. Friend's supplementary question is based. If she will provide me with evidence, I will look at it. As I understand the position, Her Majesty's Government are entirely in step with our allies in this matter. On the main point on which my hon. Friend is concentrating, the question of trade between this country and the German Democratic Republic, I would remind her that there was recently concluded a three-year trade agreement between the C.B.I. and the East German Chamber of Foreign Trade, and there were announcements about the liberalisation of imports to the United Kingdom from East Germany. We are taking all proper opportunities to ensure that in the matter of trade we are on the same footing as other of our European competitors.