HC Deb 29 January 1973 vol 849 cc922-3
12. Mr. Dyson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will give details of any contact made by Her Majesty's Government with the German Democratic Republic with a view to establishing diplomatic relations with the Government of that country; and if he will make a statement.

The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Julian Amery)

The British and GDR officials began talks in London about the establishment of diplomatic relations on 23rd January. These are still continuing. This is in accordance with the decisions of the NATO Council of Ministers, set out in their communiqué of 8th December 1972.

Our Embassy when it is opened will be in East Berlin, which is the seat of government of the GDR, but this will in no way affect the special legal status of the Berlin area.

Mr. Drayson

When does my right hon. Friend expect these discussions to be concluded? Is it the intention of our NATO allies that recognition of the German Democratic Republic should take place on the same day, or will France and other countries pre-empt and recognise before we do?

Mr. Amery

We are all moving broadly together on this issue because there is no specific importance to be attached to particular dates. I hope that we shall be able to exchange ambassadors by the summer after the two German States have ratified the general relations treaty.

Sir D. Dodds-Parker

May I press my right hon. Friend to make certain not only that we keep in step with our colleagues in the Community but that we let it be widely known that we are doing so?

Mr. Amery

Yes, indeed. I hope it is already widely known, but my hon. Friend's question will draw attention to it.