HC Deb 13 February 1973 vol 850 cc1138-9
Q2. Mr. Raphael Tuck

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement on his official talks with the President of the United States of America.

The Prime Minister

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply which I gave in answer to a Question from the hon. Member for Brentford and Chiswick (Mr. Barnes) on 6th February.—[Vol. 850, c. 220–3.].

Mr. Tuck

Did the Prime Minister bring to the President's attention the disgust felt by the people of this country at the perfidy of the United States in continuing to import vast quantities of chrome from the rebel State of Rhodesia —[Interruption.]—the Conservative Members do not like it, Mr. Speaker, but they are going to get it [Interruption.]—thus setting the United Nations at naught and incidentally stabbing the United Kingdom in the back?

The Prime Minister

These were decisions of Congress and not of the Administration.

Mr. Dykes

During the discussions was my right hon. Friend able to compare notes with the President about the responsible way in which the American unions reacted to the US income restraint policies in comparison with the apparent attitude of our unions?

The Prime Minister

I discussed the American experience on prices and incomes policy both with Mr. Shultz of the United States Treasury and with the President. My hon. Friend is correct in what he said. The American unions cooperated in the standstill to the full. In stage 2, which had a 5½ per cent. limit and not an 8 per cent. limit like ours, they co-operated to the full and they have gone for voluntary arrangements in stage 3 at the same time as the President has cut the social services budget by 5 billion dollars and all rents have been freed.

Mr. Thorpe

As the Prime Minister rightly noted that the decision on chrome was one of Congress and not of the President, are we to asume that the President wished to dissent from that decision?

The Prime Minister

The right hon. Gentleman must draw his own conclusions about the President's views. I was merely answering the point about where responsibility lay for the fact that chrome can be imported into the United States.

Mr. John Wells

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that one of the most important items in the President's anti-inflation policy is the production of more food at home, and will my right hon. Friend follow that by encouraging British agriculture to grow more food at home?

The Prime Minister

This was one of the first actions of the present administration when we had a special price review in the autumn of 1970. From that time onwards expansion has been encouraged in British agriculture, and the British farmer has responded to that encouragement.

Mr. Frank Allaun

Did the Prime Minster raise with the President the proposal by our Secretary of State for Defence for a West European joint nuclear military force? Does the right hon. Gentleman not realise that this would be absolutely fatal to our hopes of a peaceful settlement between East and West in Europe?

The Prime Minister

I have told the House on many occasions that the proposal which I put forward, and which is on public record, was for the French and British nuclear resources to be held in trusteeship, and that the President of France has said that he does not believe that it is timely or right to discuss this matter.

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