Her Majesty's Government are in favour of any measure which would help to reduce tension and increase security in Europe, provided that it would not weaken the Western Alliance or make more difficult the solution of the German problem. Any controlled reduction of forces in Europe would have to meet these criteria, and Her Majesty's Government at all times would have to act in close consultation and unity with her allies.
Does this mean that the Government have abandoned past Labour Party proposals of this kind? Will the Government none the less give their support to the sensible idea of an exchange of observers against surprise attack?
The answer to the latter part of that supplementary question is, "Yes, certainly". As to the first part, the hon. Member would do well to await the debate in this House on Wednesday and Thursday and in another place on Thursday, when he will see the unfolding of Her Majesty's Government's policy. The importance we attach to this issue is shown by the appointment of a Minister of State responsible for disarmament negotiations.
Are the Government engaged in any conversations with our allies on these matters? While I approve the general lines of the hon. Member's statement, I should like to know the answer to that.
As my hon. Friend knows, our N.A.T.O. allies see a number of objections to these proposals on political, military and technical grounds, but we shall he prepared carefully to examine any further proposals which the Polish Government might care to make with a view to improving East-West relations and bringing about further progress towards disarmament.