HC Deb 20 May 1981 vol 5 cc269-70
3. Mr. Deakins

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement about preparations for the Mexico meeting of Foreign Ministers in August.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Nicholas Ridley)

Preparations for the meeting of Foreign Ministers are in the hands of the Mexican and Austrian Governments, acting on behalf of the 11 co-sponsoring countries. We are in close touch with them.

Mr. Deakins

Will the Minister arrange to meet his colleagues from the six other Commonwealth countries who will be going to Mexico, with a view to ensuring a full discussion of the matter at the Commonwealth conference and perhaps getting a unified Commonwealth line at the subsequent meeting of Heads of Government in Mexico in October?

Mr. Ridley

I am sure that these matters will be discussed at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. However, I do not think that the Mexicans would like to feel that blocs were forming in advance of the summit or that positions were being pre-empted before it took place.

Mr. Renton

Is my hon. Friend aware that thousands of people in this country are anxious that something solid should come out of the Mexican summit which will put flesh on the bones of the Brandt report before it becomes a skeleton? Will he assure the House that he and his right hon. Friends will go to the Mexico summit with constructive proposals and not just suggestions that everything should be put off for discussion at another international meeting a year later?

Mr. Ridley

I cannot promise my hon. Friend that I shall be going to the Mexico summit, but I assure him that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. and noble Friend the Foreign Secretary will go to those meetings in a constructive spirit to try to find ways of making practical advances from the position that we have now reached.

Mr. Russell Johnston

Cannot the Minister say anything at all about the Government's objectives in going to Mexico? It is all very well to say that they will be constructive and positive, but in what respects, for example, does he expect that the Mexico experience will alter the Government's policies towards the Third world?

Mr. Ridley

Although I share the hon. Gentleman's desire for positive initiatives to come from the Mexico summit, I believe that it is better to allow the discussion to be free and, as it were, unpre-empted. That is exactly what the Mexicans and the Austrians, the convenors of the conference, have asked all of us to do.

Mr. Denzil Davies

Is it not clear from the hon. Gentleman's answers that the Government have no idea at all what proposals to put forward for the Mexico summit, although they pretend that they have now discovered the Brandt report? Will the Government at least consider the proposals for the reform of the IMF and the World Bank, for instance, so that the developing countries may have some say in the international financial system?

Mr. Ridley

The right hon. Gentleman knows full well that those questions have been examined and discussed in some depth, but I believe that he would be wrong to suggest that we should go to the Mexico summit with preconceived ideas. That it certainly not what the Mexicans themselves want.

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