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Oral Answers to Questions — Western European Union (Control of Armaments)

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

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Photo of Vice-Admiral John Hughes-Hallett Vice-Admiral John Hughes-Hallett , Croydon North East 12:00 am, 27th July 1959

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the United Kingdom has yet ratified the agreement reached in 1957 between the member nations of Western European Union to make legal provision for the protection of private interests from abuses to which the exercise of the control of armaments might give rise.

Photo of Commander Robert Allan Commander Robert Allan , Paddington South

Before the agreement can be ratified, an Order in Council is required to grant diplomatic privileges and immunities to certain officers of the Tribunal which is to be set up under the agreement. This Order in Council is being prepared, but is not, I am sorry to say, yet ready for laying before the House.

Photo of Vice-Admiral John Hughes-Hallett Vice-Admiral John Hughes-Hallett , Croydon North East

Can my hon. Friend give any indication of when this Order will be ready to be laid before the House? Is he aware that until this agreement is ratified the control of arms in Western Europe cannot be so effective as it was intended under the Treaty? Would he not agree that effective control even among friendly nations would be of great value as a guide towards the wider national agreement to which everybody looks forward?

Photo of Commander Robert Allan Commander Robert Allan , Paddington South

Yes, Sir. Of course, this agreement cannot come into force until all the members have ratified it, and, as my hon. and gallant Friend knows, no other W.E.U. country has yet done so. The Order to which I referred should be ready early in the next Session.