Oral Answers to Questions — Summit Conference

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

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Photo of Mr Anthony Fell Mr Anthony Fell , Yarmouth 12:00, 30 April 1959

asked the Prime Minister whether he has yet arranged a meeting of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers to discuss the attitude of the British Commonwealth to the forthcoming Summit Conference.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

No, Sir. I fear this would not be practicable.

Photo of Mr Anthony Fell Mr Anthony Fell , Yarmouth

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his Answer is somewhat disappointing? Is he aware—as I am sure he is—that when he goes abroad and negotiates as for Britain and Britain only, or mainly for Britain, he is negotiating from weakness, but that when he negotiates abroad for Britain as the centre of this vast Commonwealth he is negotiating from great strength? Would not it add greatly to his strength and be a sort of world demonstration of that strength were he to invite the Commonwealth Prime Ministers to meet him before he goes to the forthcoming Summit Conference?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

I appreciate the purpose that lies behind the question of my hon. Friend, but in fact the organisation of a Commonwealth Prime Minister's Conference is a big undertaking. It has to be carefully timed with all the engagements and different conditions in the, now many, countries of the Commonwealth. As I said in my statement on 15th March, after my visits to Bonn, Ottawa and Washington, I am in personal touch with the heads of Governments of the Commonwealth. There is every possible exchange with them, as well as a regular continuing process of information which goes on through the normal channels.