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Oral Answers to Questions — Summit Talks (MR. Khrushchev's Proposal)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th November 1957.

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Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme 12:00 am, 28th November 1957

asked the Prime Minister what further consideration he has given to responding to Mr. Khrushchev's suggestion of renewed summit talks.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the Answer I gave on this subject to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) on 12th November.

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Will the Prime Minister explain under what conditions he might be prepared to respond to such an invitation? Will he at any rate try to organise a meeting of the Foreign Secretaries of the big Powers for the purpose of studying the conditions under which summit talks might be held with some fruitful result, in a supreme effort to relieve international tension?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

There is nothing which we have not tried to do to help to reduce tension and bring about a greater sense of peace and security in the world, but it was explained, both in debate and in Question and Answer, that the arrangement for and the timing of such meetings are very important. That has certainly been my experience, having attended two with not very satisfactory results. That is a good thing to keep in mind.

Photo of Mr Hugh Gaitskell Mr Hugh Gaitskell , Leeds South

In any case, is it not advisable that the Western countries should first reach agreement among themselves on some of these issues before starting to negotiate with Mr. Khrushchev?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

That is a point which I had in mind. I hope that we shall reach some greater measure of—I will not say "agreement", because these problems are very difficult—facing the new form of these problems, perhaps in the meetings in Paris next month.