HC Deb 23 October 1972 vol 843 cc774-5
21. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will now recognise the German Democratic Republic.

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Anthony Royle)

No, Sir.

Mr. Allaun

Does the hon. Gentleman welcome the recent series of agreements aimed at ending the division between East and West in Europe? If so, is not recognition the logical next step in that direction, and what is the reason for delay?

Mr. Royle

Of course we welcome the agreements which have been made over the past year, but it would not be appropriate to recognise the GDR while the Federal Government were seeking to normalise relations, and they have not finished doing so yet. We should also have to be satisfied that recognition was compatible with our international obligations, in particular with our special responsibilities for Berlin and for Germany as a whole.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

Does not the hon. Gentleman realise that it is widely believed that there is a keen desire in both East and West Germany for the normalisation of relations and recognition of the acceptance of two separate countries there, and that it is widely believed that this country is among those that are dragging their feet on the issue and preventing an agreement which would otherwise come about? Would the hon. Gentleman care to deny the suggestion which has been made?

Mr. Royle

Yes, Sir. It is quite untrue. We are not dragging our feet at all. The General Transport Treaty between the FGR and the GDR, ratified by the East Germans on 16th October, is only part of the Federal German Republic's efforts to achieve normalisation of relations with the East Germans. While negotiations continue it would be inappropriate for Her Majesty's Government to take any steps which might enhance the status of the GDR and prejudice the success of the negotiations.

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