HL Deb 16 July 1965 vol 268 cc399-400

11.5 a.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the interests of relieving political pressures in Central Europe, consideration can now be given to following the lead of France in accepting the Oder-Neisse line boundary as an unchangeable fact.]


My Lords, Her Majesty's Government's policy in regard to the frontiers of Poland and Germany is well known, and is based on the Potsdam Agreement. It is that the final determination of the frontier between Germany and Poland cannot be formalised until there is a peace treaty. To depart from this policy would not serve the interests which the noble Lord has in mind.


My Lords, since it has been possible for France to take this action of recognition, and since 80 per cent. of the population in that area now is of Polish nationality, may I ask the noble Lord this? In view of the fact that Her Majesty's Government have recently encouraged, and do encourage, East-West trade, and the United States Government is emphasising the desire for it, does the noble Lord not think that some action, taken fairly soon, on the lines suggested in my Question would help materially to attract Poland to the West and assist the object of developing East-West trade'?


My Lords, we are as anxious as anybody that there should be a final settlement in this whole area; but it depends, and depends entirely, upon the agreement and signing of a peace treaty. With regard to the remarks made by the noble Lord concerning the French Government, it is, of course, not for Her Majesty's Government, or for me personally, to define what is in fact the attitude of the French Government in this matter, but I would remind the noble Lord that the French Government did in fact sign the Bonn Convention of 1954 and the Tripartite Statement of June 26, 1964, both of which reaffirmed allied agreement that the final determination of the boundaries of Germany must await a peace settlement.


My Lords, in thanking the noble Lord for that answer, may I ask this? Is it to be understood, that diplomatically the action of France, whatever it is—and perhaps the noble Lord could define it—has been taken in contravention of what she has put her signature to in the past?


My Lords, people must draw their own conclusions from the action of France and from the various statements which have been made. I can only reiterate that the French are as bound as we are by these declarations to which I have referred, which reaffirm that the final determination of the boundaries must await a final peace settlement.

Back to