HL Deb 29 January 1985 vol 459 cc557-8
The Lord Archbishop of York

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

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to include representatives from the USSR and the Federal Republic of Germany in any celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces (Lord Trefgarne)

My Lords, we are planning a national commemoration in this country and participation by our wartime and post-war allies is a factor we shall bear in mind when considering the form of that commemoration. As my right honourable friend the Prime Minister said in another place on 17th January, we shall expect many of the representatives in this country, either as ambassadors or high commissioners, to attend.

The Lord Archbishop of York

My Lords, may I thank the noble Lord for that Answer and welcome the fact that the Government are going to do something. May I press him by asking whether the Government are fully aware of the educational possibilities and also the possibilities for confirming peace which might be produced by some imaginative celebrations involving people from all the countries concerned in the war at various levels, including from the top level and Church leaders, as well as young people?

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, I am sure that the most reverend Primate is right. We see the ceremonies that we plan to organise as being in the nature of a thanksgiving for the sacrifice that was offered during the World War and also for the nearly 40 years of peace which have followed.

Lord Elwyn-Jones

My Lords, can the noble Lord say how the termination of hostilities in the Far East will be celebrated? We should not overlook that equally important event.

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, I certainly agree with the noble and learned Lord that we should not lose sight of the fact that there was the very considerable conflict in that part of the world at the same time. I think that we rather anticipate that these ceremonies should take into account the whole World War rather than two separate aspects of it.

Lord Airedale

My Lords, does the Minister agree that we do not want so much to emphasise celebrations as remembrance, as we do on a particular Sunday every November? I think that the noble Lord was steering in that direction with his Answer.

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, I am sure that the noble Lord is right. We most certainly agree.

Lady Saltoun

My Lords, in view of the fact that we gave thanks 40 years ago, does the noble Lord not think that we do too much celebrating of too many things too often?

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, I think that the 40th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War is an important occasion and ought to be recognised in an appropriate way.

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