Oral Answers to Questions — European Security

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30 April 1959.

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Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East 12:00, 30 April 1959

asked the Prime Minister to what extent he has explained his proposals for the limitation and control of armaments in Europe to the Chancellor of the German Federal Republic.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

I have nothing to add to what my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary said on 15th April in answer to questions on this subject and to what both my right hon. Friends said in the foreign affairs debate on 27th April.

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

Is not the Prime Minister aware that the German Chancellor has said that these proposals were presented to him in so vague a form that he was unable to come to any conclusion about them, and that the French Foreign Minister yesterday made a similar remark in the French Assembly? How does the Prime Minister expect to be able to negotiate with the Soviet Union in this field, which so many of us feel to be far the most hopeful for the negotiations, if even the allied Governments do not understand what he wants?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

All these matters have been discussed, first in the Working Group, and yesterday and today in Paris, and I am glad to say that very satisfactory progress has been made in bringing the allied position into harmony.

Photo of Mr Hugh Gaitskell Mr Hugh Gaitskell , Leeds South

In view of the fact that Dr. Adenauer said in his broadcast: I have just now once again had a very careful check made on whether Great Britain has ever made a precise proposal—and one can only discuss precise proposals. I have established that this theme has always been mentioned in only a very vague manner, so that discussion of it was not at all possible does not the Prime Minister feel that it is necessary to clear up for British public opinion exactly what was put to the German Chancellor by the British Government?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

No. My discussions with the Chancellor were confidential. The purpose of the Working Group and the Foreign Ministers' meeting and the next meeting of the Foreign Ministers is to bring all these matters into a harmonious form, and I think that we have succeeded in doing so.