HC Deb 15 November 1973 vol 864 cc663-4
Q3. Sir Gilbert Longden

asked the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of the public speech which he made at the El Alamein Reunion dinner on 26th October on the subject of NATO.

The Prime Minister

I did so on 29th October, Sir.

Sir Gilbert Longden

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the most important proposals made by the German Chancellor at Strasbourg on Tuesday—I am glad to hear that the German Chancellor discussed them first with my right hon. Friend—would do much to strengthen the European end of NATO? Is not the new French attitude towards European unity much to be welcomed? Would it not be nice if Her Majesty's Opposition were to follow the French lead?

The Prime Minister

I should be gratified if the Opposition were to follow either the French or German lead, or the lead of any other Socialist Party in the Community. At the summit Chancellor Brandt will no doubt put forward again the specific proposals which he made at Strasbourg which I have already said are of great importance. Concerning the French position on European unity, I agree with my hon. Friend about the progress which has been made; but he linked that with defence in NATO, and I expressed my view to the House on Tuesday that we would all naturally wish that the French Government would find themselves able to play a larger part in the Alliance, perhaps through the Euro-Group.

Mr. Stonehouse

May I ask what recent representations European members of NATO have received from the United States about the future of NATO, in view of the sharp disagreements about the Middle East?

The Prime Minister

As far as I know, the Euro-Group as such has received no representation from the United States administration about events in the Middle East. These are matters which may be discussed at the next meeting of Defence Ministers of the Alliance, which is, after all, due to take place in the comparatively near future.

Mr. Marten

As Chancellor Brandt's speech referred to direct elections to the European Parliament, and as that speech was discussed with the Prime Minister, may we have a firm assurance from the Prime Minister that he does not agree with the German Chancellor on that point about direct elections at this stage?

The Prime Minister

When I saw Chancellor Brandt at No. 10 Downing Street he told me about his speech, but he did so out of courtesy. He did not discuss with me the proposition as to whether or not it should be made. That is quite appropriate and it is exactly the same position as I would take. On the question of direct elections, provision is made for that in the Treaty of Rome.