European Free Trade Association

Oral Answers to Questions — United Nations – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th December 1964.

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Photo of Sir Frederick Burden Sir Frederick Burden , Gillingham 12:00 am, 14th December 1964

asked the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs if he will publish a transcript of the speeches made during his last meeting with European Free Trade Association Ministers.

Photo of Mr Walter Padley Mr Walter Padley , Ogmore

As my hon. Friend stated on 30th November, in reply to a Question from the hon. Member for Walthamstow, East (Mr. John Harvey), proceedings at meetings of the Ministerial Council of the European Free Trade Association are confidential.

Photo of Sir Frederick Burden Sir Frederick Burden , Gillingham

Would the hon. Gentleman not admit that, in view of the oft-repeated statement by Government spokesmen that the E.F.T.A. countries showed a considerable amount of sympathy for and understanding of our position, and apparently freely accepted our abrogation of the Treaties entered into with them, publication of their agreement to these things would serve • good purpose from every point of view?

Photo of Mr Walter Padley Mr Walter Padley , Ogmore

As these discussions are confidential, I am sure the hon. Gentleman would not want me to do more than refer him to the communiqué of the meeting which has been placed in the Library of the House of Commons.

Photo of Mr Anthony Fell Mr Anthony Fell , Yarmouth

Are the conversations confidential or unprintable?

Photo of Mr Walter Padley Mr Walter Padley , Ogmore

The conversations are, of course, confidential. Certainly, were they to be printed they would be found to be highly intelligent conversations on all sides.