asked the Prime Minister what exchanges he has had with the President of the United States of America since the President's Asian tour; and if, in view of the risk of the escalation of the war in Vietnam, he will urge the President once more to suspend the bombing of North Vietnam and at the same time renew his invitation to the Soviet Government to join with Her Majesty's Government in reconvening the Geneva Conference.
Her Majesty's Government are in frequent touch with both the American and Soviet authorities about the situation in Vietnam, but I have no specific report to make to the House at present.
I welcome what my hon. Friend said about the Foreign Secretary. The House will know that the Foreign Secretary is now staying a little longer in Moscow for further meetings tomorrow morning. I do not think I had better add to what I have said, but of course my hon. Friend will recognise that last year there was a very extensive bombing pause which unfortunately did not receive reciprocation in any form either in terms of a willingness to attend the conference table or to stop infiltration from North Vietnam to South Vietnam and, for this reason, did not produce the results which many of us hoped that it might.
As the Prime Minister knows, Britain was not represented at the Manila Conference. Can he say whether, in view of this country's interest in this part of the world, it is his intention to press for British representation at any future Asian summit meeting? If so, how is he setting about achieving this?
We were represented in Canberra at the meeting of S.E.A.T.O. in discussions with Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The reason why we were not represented at Manila was that we have not got troops in Vietnam. This is considered Government policy, but if the noble Lord thinks we should have troops there perhaps one day he will say so.
We were successful, with others, in prevailing on the American Government for a Christmas truce last year and as a result partly of our representations and my discussions with the President last December this was extended for very many weeks, because we thought it right that it should go on long enough for the parties in Vietnam to realise what was at issue. The reaction was disappointing, but I think there has been a suggestion already from the American Government that they are willing to agree to a Christmas truce this year.