At the invitation of the Italian and German Ministers of Defence, I recently paid visits to Rome and Bonn for an exchange of views on defence matters of common concern. At both meetings, one of the principal topics of discussion was that of closer co-operation on research, development and production of weapons and military equipment. In each case, we reached the conclusion that the time had come to bring together the various bi-lateral and tri-lateral arrangements which have grown up during the past year between various European countries, and to put them on to a multi-lateral basis, within the framework of the Western European Union. It was agreed that the opportunity of the forthcoming meeting of N.A.T.O. Defence Ministers in Paris should be taken to put this proposal to the other member states of the Western European Union.