HC Deb 04 March 1976 vol 906 cc1533-4
Q4. Mr. Ashley

asked the Prime Minister when he next proposes to make a Ministerial broadcast.

The Prime Minister

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Tonbridge and Mailing (Mr. Stanley) on 25th November, Sir.

Mr. Ashley

When my right hon. Friend next broadcasts, will he refer to the warning by Alexander Solzhentsyn that Western civilisation is in danger of collapse to appeasement? Will he tell the nation that we intend to maintain the strongest possible defence policy in concert with our allies, but that nevertheless we do not propose to be panicked into deserting the détente?

The Prime Minister

I think that my hon. Friend has got this absolutely right. My hon. Friend asks whether I will give a ministerial broadcast about Dr. Solzhenitsyn. I appealed on television to the Soviet Union for his release to this country. As for the question of Western solidarity, my hon Friend is right about NATO. I believe that it is more closely knit now than at any time in my experience. So, too, is the relationship between this country and the United States, and the same applies to the cohesion on these important matters within the members of the Community.

Mr. Blaker

When the Prime Minister makes the broadcast does he expect, for a change, to rise to the level of Solzhenitsyn?

The Prime Minister

Yes. There are many people on both sides of the House who pleaded for the release of Dr. Solzhensityn. What he says about what is happening within the Soviet Union must be taken seriously, but I would not necessarily agree, for the reasons I have given, with what he says about Western arrangements, whether on defence or integration of foreign policy.

Mr. Ford

When my right hon. Friend next makes a ministerial broadcast, will he choose that occasion to make an announcement of selective import controls applying to cheap imports from State trading countries? If the Government feel that they cannot make quota allocations, will my right hon. Friend at least oblige importers to prove that they are not dealing in dumped garments?

The Prime Minister

We have taken action on certain State trading countries in East Europe. I was as concerned as my hon. Friend about reports about very cheap suits coming from East Germany, a move which would very much affect my hon. Friend's constituency. But on examination I have found that none is coming into this country.