HC Deb 02 February 1970 vol 795 c29
41. Mr. Peel

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will take the initiative with the other Governments of the North Atlantic Alliance to bring about the official recognition of the North Atlantic Assembly as the Parliamentary consultative body of that alliance.

Mr. George Thomson

We have always supported the view that the Assembly should be given official standing subject to the necessary unanimous approval of the North Atlantic Council. There is I am afraid, no sign that such approval would be forthcoming. In the circumstances I do not think that an initiative by Her Majesty's Government would achieve the desired effect.

Mr. Peel

Is the Minister aware that the great majority of Parliamentarians who are members of this Assembly are anxious that this should be done? As the French are members of it, and therefore it represents the North Atlantic Alliance, of which they are members, and in view of the success of the official assembly of the Western European Union and the possibility that we might get liaison between the two in due course and thus reduce costs, should not this be pressed?

Mr. Thomson

I am in no doubt about the importance of this matter, nor about the degree of support for it amongst parliamentary delegations associated with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. But it requires unanimity of 15 members of N.A.T.O. and that unanimity is not a prospect.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

Is my right hon. Friend aware that even if the hon. Gentleman speaks for right hon. and hon. Members opposite, he by no means speaks for right hon. and hon. Members on this side?