HC Deb 07 March 1990 vol 168 cc869-70
15. Mr. Tredinnick

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met representatives of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic; what was discussed; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hurd

I saw the Federal Chancellor on 6 February, Mr. Genscher with the Prime Minister on 15 February and repeatedly since, Defence Minister Dr. Stoltenberg on 22 February, and the German Democratic Republic Foreign Minister, Mr. Fischer, on 13 February. We discussed a number of subjects, including the external aspects of German unification.

Mr. Tredinnick

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on the work that he has done to establish a proper framework to discuss German unification, particularly the two-plus-four formula, but is he aware that there is widespread concern in Poland, which has sovereignty over the former German territories of Silesia and Pomerania, that it has been insufficiently consulted? Will my right hon. Friend therefore consider making representations to European executive representatives next time to the effect that a two-plus-four-plus-one formula would be in order so as to accommodate Poland's worries?

Mr. Hurd

I discussed that with the Polish Foreign Minister in Ottawa and the Polish Prime Minister discussed it with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and myself here in London. It is accepted, first, that the Poles should have a treaty defining their western border and, secondly and obviously, that when those arrangements are discussed the Poles will have to be there.

Mr. Tony Banks

Does the Foreign Secretary agree that it would be in the interests of European security and East-West relations if a unified Germany were declared a demilitarised zone and the new Germany neither in NATO nor in the Warsaw pact? Would not that be helpful to both sides?

Mr. Hurd

The hon. Member should consult some of his friends in eastern Europe on that as it is a prospect which they are beginning specifically to repudiate. There is a growing consensus, which does not yet include the Soviet Union, that it would be sensible for the stability of Europe if a united Germany were in NATO.

Mr. William Powell

Has my right hon. Friend had the opportunity to discuss the prospective currency reform of the Ostmark with the Governments of East and West Germany? Has my right hon. Friend read the reports that there are apparently 155 billion Ostmarks in savings which will need to be converted, and that there is an international dimension to this because unless the matter is handled sensitively it may well result in a high level of inflation going out of Germany?

Mr. Hurd

That has been touched on from time to time in discussions, but I would not claim to be an expert on it. Expert views on the point that my hon. Friend raises are varied, but I believe that the matter is being handled with caution by the relevant German authorities, bearing in mind the kind of worry that my hon. Friend has expressed.

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