HC Deb 15 June 1977 vol 933 cc362-4
3. Mr. Adley

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek a meeting with Mr. Vance to discuss the implementation by the United States of America Government of the treaty signed by Her Majesty's Government and the Federal Government allowing Concorde to land in New York.

Mr. Judd

As I told the hon. Member on 4th May, the United States Government are well aware of our views. We and the French are urgently and carefully considering yesterday's decision by the United States Court of Appeals, but until these considerations are complete and the airlines have been consulted it is too soon to say what steps will be taken.

Mr. Adley

But is it not clear that, unless and until Mr. Carter accepts his presidential responsibility for implementing federal treaty obligations, the courts will continue to uphold the discriminatory ban by the Port of New York Authority? What are the Government doing to remove the feeling in many quarters that, in the case of Concorde, the signature of the United States Government on a treaty is rather less valuable than the signature of the Soviet Government on the Helsinki agreement?

Mr. Judd

I am sure that with his specialised knowledge the hon. Gentleman will recognise that this is a complicated issue, which raises fundamental points about the principles of the rule of law, to which I know he is deeply committed. I can assure him that the Prime Minister has spoken to President Carter himself several times, and we have raised the matter with Mr. Vance. The Secretary of State for Trade also spoke to Mr. Brock Adams expressing concern when he was in the United States recently.

Mr. Russell Kerr

Is my hon. Friend aware that the continued frustration currently being experienced by British Airways and Air France in regard to Concorde is doing nothing but build up a heavy anti-American groundswell of public opinion in this country? Will he therefore use his best ministerial endeavours to put pressure on President Carter to drop his Nelson-like approach and to come down firmly on the side of a co-operative gesture, which could only help Anglo-American relations?

Mr. Judd

I thank my hon. Friend for those comments. It would be wrong to underestimate the feeling in this country about the issue. So far as I am aware, that is well recognised in the United States, and, as I have said, senior British Ministers have been at pains to make sure that the President and the United States Secretary of State are well aware of how we see the issue on this side of the Atlantic.

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