HC Deb 07 December 1972 vol 847 cc1665-6
Q4. Sir Gilbert Longden

asked the Prime Minister if he will seek an early official meeting with the President of the United States of America.

The Prime Minister

I would welcome such a meeting with President Nixon but I have no announcement to make at present.

Sir Gilbert Longden

If my right hon. Friend does meet the President will he do his utmost to ensure that the NATO alliance speaks with one voice at the European Security Conference, so that the major Soviet objective, which is to disrupt the alliance, shall not be achieved?

The Prime Minister

Yes, of course, all the matters which will be raised in the Security Conference will be discussed between the members of the alliance, either together or bilaterally. I very much hope that there will be an agreed policy on this matter. At the same time, the best contribution that the members of the alliance can make to the conference will be in idividual matters—as well as alliance matters.

Mr. Harold Wilson

The question of the European Security Conference is clearly being discussed currently in the NATO talks. As the House is to have an early foreign affairs debate, will the right hon. Gentleman consider whether, after the talks with the alliance, a statement should be made in the House or information given to it so that hon. Members on both sides can consider what they want to say without having to wait for the Foreign Secretary to introduce the subject at the beginning of the debate?

The Prime Minister

I am willing to discuss that with my right hon. Friend when he returns. The first part of the Security Conference will probably be largely concerned with procedural matters in preparation for the major conference, so it may not be possible to discuss matters of substance. I will certainly discuss it with my right hon. Friend.