HC Deb 08 November 1973 vol 863 cc1170-2
Q6. Mr. Rost

asked the Prime Minister if he will seek an oportunity to address the Association of European Journalists.

The Prime Minister

I shall be addressing the association on 30th November, Sir.

Mr. Rost

When my right hon. Friend addresses the European journalists, will he take the opportunity of sounding them out to find why the reputation of the leadership of the Labour Party in Europe has sunk to an all-time low? Will he find out, too, whether that situation interferes with and aggravates the probability of achieving greater European unity?

The Prime Minister

Of course I can do that, but I suspect that their views will only confirm my own. As the House knows, I have always hoped that both parties would play their part in European development, particularly by sending Members of Parliament to the Strasbourg Parliament.

Mr. John Mendelson

Disregarding for a moment the propaganda use that the hon. Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr. Rost) made of his supplementary question, may I ask the Prime Minister, in an attempt to use his time rather more seriously, to say a little more about the recent discussions among some of the NATO allies about the proposal to create a European nuclear command? Will he resist any attempt that might be made in the discussion he is to hold with the President of France or other NATO members to enlarge the sphere of nuclear armament and adhere strictly to the treaty against the spreading of nuclear arms to other countries?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir, of course we shall adhere to that treaty. We have signed it and we shall stick to it.

Mr. Thorpe

When the Prime Minister addresses European journalists, will he make it clear to them that he regards the present threat to the oil supplies in Holland, and to a lesser extent in West Germany, as a golden opportunity to prove that we in this country believe in working towards European unity and are prepared to help those and other countries to resist attempts at Arab blackmail?

The Prime Minister

We have shown that we are working towards European unity by working towards a European foreign policy. The first stage of that was in Copenhagen, beginning in September when we settled the relationship we propose between Europe and the United States. The Foreign Ministers have since had further discussions about this matter and we shall discuss it as Heads of Government in December. This must be the first stage.

Sir F. Bennett

I believe I heard during the last supplementary question mention of West Germany and Holland. I understand that since Portugal has been embargoed—[HON. MEMBERS: "Ask a question."] May I be reminded whether the Prime Minister has had any representations from the benches opposite on the grounds of principle in the supply of fuel to Portugal?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir, I have not, but in fairness to the Leader of the Liberal Party I must point out that Portugal is not a member of the Community.

Mr. Orme

Will the Prime Minister explain to the European journalists that the British people are more opposed now, in November 1973, than they were in January when he signed the Treaty of Rome?

The Prime Minister

I do not accept that. The journalists can form their own judgment.