HC Deb 20 July 1970 vol 804 cc7-8
2. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take initiatives to make a Security Conference possible at the earliest opportunity.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Sir Alec Douglas-Home)

I would welcome a well-prepared and businesslike meeting provided that we could be sure that matters of real substance would be dealt with. We are studying the situation with our allies.

Mrs. Short

That is the same reply as I was receiving from the Foreign Secretary's predecessors. Would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that very many of us are anxious to see progress made in this matter? Will he give the House an undertaking that he will support anything that the West German Government are doing in order to reach agreement with the Warsaw Pact Powers?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

That is a rather different question. But I think that the hon. Lady will have seen, as a result of the communiqué issued after I talked with Herr Scheel, that we are supporting the German policy. The matter raised in the original Question is now being studied with our allies in N.A.T.O., and there will be a N.A.T.O. reply

Mr Frank Allaun

Will the right hon. Gentleman press N.A.T.O. to make specific proposals for mutual troop reductions? This matter has been under discussion since December, 1967, and no specific proposals have been forthcoming.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

There are certain specific proposals. In 1968 the right hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) and the allies proposed that there should be talks about force reduc- tions. There is now a proposal that some standing machinery might be set up by such a conference on European affairs.

Mr. M. Stewart

Would the Foreign Secretary agree that the most recent statement by the countries of the Warsaw Pact is worthy of most careful study and could form the basis of a wise way of dealing with East-West relations?

Sir A. Douglas-Home