HC Deb 20 July 1983 vol 46 c370
12. Mr. Winnick

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Government's policy towards improving relations between the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Malcolm Rifkind)

We have consistently made it clear to the Soviet leadership that a more constructive relationship is possible if the Soviet Union is prepared to show restraint and discontinue policies that increase international tension.

Mr. Winnick

Does the Minister and the Foreign Secretary agree with the right hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-East (Mr. Pym), the previous Foreign Secretary, who said that dialogue with the Russians had become rather thin and urged, during the debate on the Queen's Speech, that there should be closer contacts between the two countries? Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that whatever disagreements we may have—often they are strong—with the Russian method of government, it is necessary and useful to have good Anglo-Soviet relations?

Mr. Rifkind

We agree that there is a need for constructive dialogue and it is for that reason that I was in Moscow several weeks ago.