Oral Answers to Questions — European Technological Community

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th December 1966.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr David Howell Mr David Howell , Guildford 12:00 am, 6th December 1966

asked the Prime Minister what steps he will now take to follow up his proposal for a European technological community.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

asked the Prime Minister if he will now take action to implement his plan for a technological community in Europe.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and I will be seeking the views of other Governments during our forthcoming visits to Common Market countries on how best our community of interest in technological progress can most effectively be fostered.

Photo of Mr David Howell Mr David Howell , Guildford

Does not the idea of a technological community, which the Prime Minister has picked up, go rather further than he has so far suggested? Does not such a community mean a common public policy by the Governments concerned and does not this involve a degree of political integration? Would he accept that?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

It requires just as much political integration as is required for the existence and fulfilment of the present three communities. We shall be most anxious to discuss our suggestion of a fourth technological community at these talks. If the Governments concerned feel that it could be done in a different way—the Italian Government have already made suggestions, perhaps not as good as this one—we shall be glad to discuss it with them.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

In these visits would the Prime Minister think it right for him to support the British Nuclear Export Executive and to raise at the highest level the question of European purchase of British reactors before such time as the French and the Belgians become committed to American reactors?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I know of my hon. Friend's interest in this and this is one of the important things that we could do. With this, as with computers—this is a point I made in Paris 18 months ago—there is a danger that certain of our European neighbours will become too much dependent upon the United States exports and techniques. This would help to build up a rather more independent technique in Europe.

Photo of Mr Jo Grimond Mr Jo Grimond , Orkney and Shetland

Does the Prime Minister intend this community to be in addition to the existing communities, including Euratom, and since he has presumably worked out the details of the proposals, would he publish them in a White Paper?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

It was felt that the right thing was to discuss all of these ideas with the Heads of Governments of the Six. We have some ideas and shall put them forward in those talks. After that, we shall be glad to report to the House.

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

Does the Prime Minister realise that his proposal has been very warmly welcomed on the Continent and has aroused great interest? Is he aware that it is regarded as evidence of the British Government's interest in trying to develop co-operation within the Community, and will he seriously consider the possibility, at some later date, of publishing some detailed thoughts on this subject?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his remarks. The suggestion has been welcomed as evidence of our serious intention and it was put forward with that very much in mind. We shall certainly consider, at the appropriate time, saying more about it to the House.