HC Deb 14 February 1972 vol 831 cc23-4
25. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will raise the question of nuclear defence at his next meeting with the French Government.

Mr. Anthony Royle

My right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary has no current plans for a meeting with the French Government.

Mr. Allaun

Did the hon. Gentleman note the views of the Prime Minister on the arguments of M. Deniau, the E.E.C. Commissioner, in favour of supplying our military nuclear technique to France? Did the Prime Minister dismiss this as merely wanting to relax the McMahon Act? What other purpose can there be in relaxing the McMahon Act except to provide this military technique to France?

Mr. Royle

I think the hon. Gentleman is well aware that the questions he has put to me are really for my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. However, the Prime Minister's position on the matter of an Anglo-French deterrent in trust for Europe is well known.

Mr. Blaker

While matters of nuclear defence are obviously important, would not the Under-Secretary agree that the present time is particularly auspicious for a move forward towards greater cooperation with France in foreign policy, whether bilaterally or within the context of the Ten? Could he raise this matter with the French Government?

Mr. Royle

I think my hon. Friend knows that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will be meeting President Pompidou in the very near future, and no doubt all these matters will be discussed between them.

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