HC Deb 13 July 1971 vol 821 cc213-4
Q5. Mr. Deakins

asked the Prime Minister if he will invite the Prime Minister of Austria to pay an official visit to the United Kingdom.

The Prime Minister

The Federal Chancellor would always be welcome in this country, but there are at present no plans for a visit.

Mr. Deakins

Would not such a visit be apposite at present since the White Paper does not make any mention of the fact that when we made our application in 1967 we were going to support the interests of our E.F.T.A. partners, who did not seek full membership, and there is no sign in the White Paper that we are intent on doing this before we become members ourselves?

The Prime Minister

It has always been accepted that each individual E.F.T.A. country will negotiate itself for whatever form of arrangement it wants with the Community. This has always been the wish of the E.F.T.A. countries over the last 10 years, and that is still their position. It is up to them to choose what form of arrangement they want and to negotiate it, if possible, with the Community. Originally, in 1961, there was an undertaking from the then Conservative Government that the E.F.T.A. countries would all enter the Community at the same lime and would be responsible for safeguarding each other's infests. That undertaking was abandoned in 1967 with the second application and has not been renewed.

Mr. Jeffrey Archer

Does my right hon. Friend realise that there are many of us on this side of the House who are full of admiration for the courageous stand made by the right hon. Members for Fulham (Mr. Michael Stewart) and Dundee, East (Mr. George Thomson) and that some of us look to the Leader of the Opposition to make the same courageous stand and put the country before his party?

The Prime Minister

My hon. Friend is perfectly entitled to express his view, but I would not wish in any way to cause embarrassment to those who are supporting a cause which I sponsor.