HC Deb 23 July 1975 vol 896 cc229-30W
60. Mr. Blenkinsop

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on Anglo-Polish relations following his recent visit to Poland.

Mr. James Callaghan

I visited Poland from 13th to 15th July 1975 at the invitation of Mr. Stefan Olszowski, the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs. My visit followed his visit to London in April 1974. and was the first visit to Poland by a British Foreign Secretary since the one made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Fulham (Mr. Stewart) in 1965.

I should like to express my very warm appreciation of the hospitable reception which our Polish hosts gave to my wife and myself and to the members of the party who accompanied us.

On my way to Warsaw I visited Gdansk, and had the pleasure of meeting the leaders of the local party and Government organisations there. I was also able to see for myself the most impressive way in which the people of the city have reconstructed it following the very heavy damage which it suffered during the last War.

In Warsaw I had talks with Mr. Olszowski, and also made calls on Mr. Gierek, First Secretary of the Polish United Workers' Party, Dr. Jablonski, Chairman of the Council of State, and Mr. Jaroszewicz, Chairman of the Council of Ministers.

At the end of my visit, Mr. Olszowski and I signed a Declaration on the Development of Friendly Relations between the United Kingdom and the Polish People's Republic, which I hope to arrange to be published shortly.

The communiqué issued after my visit, a copy of which has been placed in the Library, said that the talks and meetings were conducted in an atmosphere of friendship, co-operation and mutual confidence reflecting the tradition of friendly relations between the two countries".

The excellent state of our relations with Poland is of course well known to the House, and is reflected in many fields, notably our trade, and the number of visitors from each country to the other.

In our talks we discussed a broad range of international affairs, as well as our bilateral relations. We were of course particularly interested in the work of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe. I also took the opportunity to assure my Polish hosts that our membership of the European Community, far from diminishing our bilateral relations, would enhance them by making us a more worthwhile and influential partner.

I therefore have every confidence that, as a result of my visit, and those made by other Ministers in both directions, our relations with Poland, already good, will continue to develop further in a wide variety of fields.

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