HC Deb 18 November 1987 vol 122 cc1048-50
4. Mr. Baldry

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next expects to meet the United States Secretary of State to discuss European-American relations.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

I expect to see Mr. Shultz at the North Atlantic Council meeting planned for 11 and 12 December.

Mr. Baldry

My right hon. and learned Friend will doubtless continue to indicate our support for the INF agreement. However, does he agree that the issues that might divide us are as important as those on which we are agreed? To that end, will he take every opportunity to signal to the Americans our determination to campaign vigorously against any proposed protectionist legislation that would damage the interests of Europe and, indeed, the United States and the whole free world?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

There will no doubt be some discussions about both those points. I hope that, by that time, there will have been further — if not final— progress towards the signing of the INF agreement. I shall emphasise the extent to which that has the support of all 16 members of the North Atlantic Alliance and, therefore, deserves the wholehearted support of the United States Congress as well.

On the question of trade and protectionism, I entirely agree with my hon. Friend that the one thing that we must continue striving to avoid is any increase in protectionism across the Atlantic in either direction. The United States Administration are well aware of the strength of our feelings about that, and it is a topic that I regularly discuss with the Secretary of' State, George Shultz.

It is important that the political dimension of that question should be fully appreciated. It would be politically damaging to the unity of the West, and to the prospect of free trade throughout the world, if we allowed ourselves to lapse into a trade war either way across the Atlantic.

Mr. James Lamond

Is there any chance of the Foreign Secretary asking the Americans to help us with our special responsibility towards Cyprus by exerting their undoubted pressure on another member of NATO—Turkey—to withdraw its troops, which have been invading the southern territory of a fellow signatory of the Helsinki Final Act?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

As the hon. Gentleman says, that is a topic on which Britain has a special position as one of the guarantor powers. It is a topic that we discuss with other friendly nations, including the United States. We seek to impress on all parties to that dispute the need for the withdrawal of foreign troops, including Turkish troops, from the island as part of the settlement that we all want.

Sir Peter Blaker

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that he deserves the congratulations of the House on the robust support that he has given consistently to NATO's twin-track policy on intermediate-range nuclear forces, which has led directly to the present prospect of an agreement by both sides to abolish those forces?

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware also that, subject to the resolution of one or two difficult outstanding problems, such as verification, the words that he used in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Baldry) reaffirming our wholehearted support for the proposed treaty will be extremely welcome?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that support. We welcome the prospect of signing an INF agreement at the forthcoming summit between the United States and the Soviet Union. We hope that by that time the issues still outstanding, including the crucial one of verification, will have been resolved. My right hon. Friend is right to say that achieving such an agreement will be a success for multilateral, not unilateral, disarmament, which contrasts vividly with the Opposition's policy, which has been described by the right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore) as morally flawed and riddled with inconsistencies.

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