HL Deb 19 April 1955 vol 192 cc419-20

3.34 p.m.


My Lords, with the indulgence of the House, I think it might be convenient if at this moment I read the statement which the Prime Minister is making in another place, in reply to a Private Notice Question. The statement is as follows: Her Majesty's Government will certainly welcome the statement in the communiquè issued in Moscow on the 15th April in which the Austrian and Soviet Governments placed on record their desire for the early conclusion of a State Treaty. For many years we and our Allies have wanted to conclude a Treaty with Austria which would restore her full freedom and independence. The House will recall that we offered at Berlin to sign the text with all the Soviet amendments. We earnestly hope that that Treaty can now at last be concluded. We note in particular that the Soviet Government have now agreed that the occupation forces of the Four Powers shall be withdrawn from Austria after entry into force of the Treaty, and in any event not later than the 31st December, 1955. The Soviet Government have thus removed one of the main obstacles to the conclusion of the Treaty. The next step will be for the representatives of the four responsible Governments to examine, with Austrian participation, the proposals put forward by the Soviet Government. I hope this examination will start very soon and that as a result it will be possible to proceed to the conclusion and signature of this long-delayed Treaty with our Austrian friends.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Viscount for making that statement. I am sure that noble Lords on this side of the House for whom I speak would desire to be completely identified with it. We have long worked and hoped for the liberation of Austria, and that is what this comes to. Both this Government and their predecessor attempted to achieve this end, and we are happy to think that at long last there is the prospect of this liberation being brought about.