Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign Ministers' Conference

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th July 1959.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Henderson Mr Arthur Henderson , Rowley Regis and Tipton 12:00 am, 27th July 1959

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement on the progress achieved at the Foreign Ministers' Conference at Geneva.

Photo of Mr William Warbey Mr William Warbey , Ashfield

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress of the Geneva Conference of Foreign Ministers.

Photo of Mr John Profumo Mr John Profumo , Stratford-on-Avon

Discussions at Geneva since the resumption of the Conference have concentrated mainly upon a possible interim agreement with regard to Berlin. There has also been discussion with the Soviet Foreign Minister on his proposal for establishing machinery to discuss all-German questions during the period of an interim agreement. Since discussions are continuing, I should prefer not to go into greater detail at the moment.

Photo of Mr Arthur Henderson Mr Arthur Henderson , Rowley Regis and Tipton

In view of the statement made by the Foreign Secretary to the Press yesterday, may we take it that some progress is being made and that the Foreign Secretary is reasonably optimistic about some results being achieved?

Photo of Mr John Profumo Mr John Profumo , Stratford-on-Avon

My right hon. and learned Friend still thinks it possible to reach a limited agreement.

Photo of Mr William Warbey Mr William Warbey , Ashfield

Is the hon. Member aware that public opinion is disturbed by the irresponsible behaviour of some of the Western delegates, who appear to greet every Soviet concession by raising new obstacles? Does he agree that there now lie to hand elements of a possible agreement on Berlin and machinery for discussion of the all-German question?

Photo of Mr John Profumo Mr John Profumo , Stratford-on-Avon

I do not want to add anything to what I have already said.

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Manchester Moss Side

Does my hon. Friend realise that public opinion is very anxious that no basic principles will be abandoned during this Conference and that in any negotiations which may take place we shall stand by what we have stated as being absolutely necessary?

Photo of Mr John Profumo Mr John Profumo , Stratford-on-Avon

I can certainly give the undertaking which my right hon. Friend wants.