HC Deb 16 November 1970 vol 806 cc858-9
40. Mr. Onslow

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, in view of Great Britain's co-chairmanship of the Geneva Conference, what is Her Majesty's Government's policy regarding President Nixon's latest proposals for peace in Vietnam.

Mr. Anthony Royle

We welcomed these proposals as a fair and reasonable basis for a negotiated settlement, and regret that the Communists appear to have rejected them without exploring their possibilities. We have always believed in the desirability of a negotiated settlement, either through a Geneva-style conference or in some other way.

Mr. Onslow

Would not my hon. Friend agree that since these are reasonable proposals, it is high time that Hanoi should enter into serious negotiations?

Mr. Royle

I agree with my hon. Friend. Hanoi's reactions so far have been negative, and no progress towards a settlement can be made until the Communist side is ready to participate in serious negotiations. This could take place in the first instance in the context of the Paris peace talks if the North Vietnamese so wished.

Mr. Pavitt

Did the Foreign Secretary make any progress in his discussions with Mr. Kosygin about the reconvening of the 1954 Agreement in the light of these American proposals?

Mr. Royle

My right hon. Friend discussed the subject with Mr. Gromyko when he was here recently and Her Majesty's Government, like the previous Government, have on a number of occasions urged the Soviet co-Chairman to join in convening a Geneva-style conference.