HC Deb 26 April 1972 vol 835 cc1541-2
31. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the progress of his preparations for the Stockholm Conference.

Mr. Peter Walker

The Government are doing all they can to make the conference a success. Departments are now studying the extensive conference papers. In addition we shall publish in early May a report which will review Britain's environmental problems, our past achievements and our task and policies for the future. This will be followed by the reports of the four working parties set up to assess public opinion on the conference topics.

Mr. Dalyell

Is the vexed question of East German representation being resolved?

Mr. Walker

This is a matter which is proceeding, and the Stockholm conference certainly will go ahead.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Is the Secretary of State aware that there is great anxiety about this matter since the effectiveness of the Stockholm conference will be very much weakened by the absence of the East European countries, which are very much affected by this problem?

Mr. Walker

This matter is being dealt with by the United Nations, and I think it is correct to leave it to that body to see that the best possible solution is reached.

Mr. Crosland

This is a very serious issue which could wreck the conference. Cannot the right hon. Gentleman bring pressure to bear on the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary to play a rôlein making this a success?

Mr. Walker

This is not a matter of the attitude of this country. It is a question of the attitude of the United Nations. It is a United Nations conference, and I think that it is correct that it should be handled as such.