HC Deb 06 March 1972 vol 832 cc1013-4
12. Mr. Marten

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next proposes to meet the Italian Foreign Minister.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

I shall be meeting the Italian Foreign Minister in Rome on 24th March.

Mr. Marten

In view of the forthcoming Italian general election, the outcome of which seems to be wide open, are Her Majesty's Government following the usual practice of having contact with other parties in Italy which might form an alternative Government? If so, what contact has my right hon. Friend been having with the Communist Party which might form the Government, especially about the question of a common foreign policy with the E.E.C. should we join?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

There are such things as caretaker Governments. Indeed, I was myself a member of one. I should have been very unhappy if no one had consulted me at that time.

Mr. Blaker

Will my right hon. Friend ask the Italian Foreign Minister for a memorandum, which he can pass on to my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten), showing the tremendous success that Italy has achieved since joining the E.E.C.—[interruption.]—my hon. Friend's intervention shows how much he needs such a memorandum—in increasing its national wealth and solving the problems of the economically backward south?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

Yes, Sir. I could convey a memorandum, but my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) must have heard the Italian Prime Minister here 18 months ago when he detailed the advantages that the Italians saw in membership.

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