§ 2. Mr. St. John-Stevas
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on his talks with other Foreign Ministers at the summit conference.
§ 3. Mr. Blaker
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about his talks with other Foreign Ministers at the recent summit conference of members of the European Economic Community and applicant countries.
§ 9. Mr. Marten
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth 756 Affairs if he will make a statement on his discussions with Foreign Ministers at the Common Market summit meeting.
§ The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Sir Alec Douglas-Home)
During the European Summit Conference last week I naturally discussed a number of matters with my colleagues from other participating countries. But the conference was essentially a meeting of Heads of State and Government. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will, with permission, be making a statement after Questions.
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
While I appreciate the difficulty that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is in, can he perhaps spell out for the benefit of the House and the country something more of what is meant by the "European union" to which we have been committed by the Community?
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
This is something which has to be worked out in each sphere of the Community's activity over the years. Nobody was anxious at the conference to use labels like "confederation" or "federation" and therefore "union" is a word which will gradually become defined over the years.
I can put it this way. There was evidence all the way through the summit conference of the desire to co-operate at every level. One of the most significant things which came out of this was the decision that the Foreign Secretaries should meet for a review of the international situation once a quarter. Therefore, we shall be closely in touch on all these matters.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I would remind hon. Members that we have heard that the Prime Minister is to make a statement. Those who ask Questions now will be prejudicing their chances later on.
§ Mr. Blaker
Is my right hon. Friend aware that this conference was remarkable for how much was achieved and how many firm dates there are in the communiqué for the proposals agreed upon? Is he also aware that this has demonstrated that the nine members can reach agreement on progressive and bold policies without over-riding the interests of any of the members?
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
This is a feature of the partnership and the process of setting dates by which certain objectives should be achieved. It has been used successfully by the Six and I was glad to see it, in particular, in relation to the regional policy.