Oral Answers to Questions — European Economic Community

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th April 1967.

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Photo of Mr Norman St John-Stevas Mr Norman St John-Stevas , Chelmsford 12:00 am, 17th April 1967

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a further statement of British policy towards the European Economic Community.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

I have nothing to add to the reply given to the hon. Gentleman by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 11th April.—[Col. 967, Vol. 744.]

Photo of Mr Norman St John-Stevas Mr Norman St John-Stevas , Chelmsford

Can the Foreign Secretary confirm the newspaper report that the British application is to be lodged in the week of 7th May, and that it will be an application and not a declaration of intent?

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

Sad to say these days, one can hardly ever confirm anything one sees in the newspapers; but, of course, even if I could I would not confirm this report.

Photo of Mr David Watkins Mr David Watkins , Consett

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what recent representations he has received from the Austrian Government about British entry into the Common Market.

Photo of Mr David Watkins Mr David Watkins , Consett

I thank my right hon. Friend for that straight answer to a straight question. Does he expect any representations from the Austrian Government concerning the effects on their economy of any possible British membership of the European Economic Community, bearing in mind our mutual membership of E.F.T.A.?

Photo of Mr Fred Mulley Mr Fred Mulley , Sheffield Park

The Austrian Government made it clear last December that they joined in the welcome accorded by other E.F.T.A. Governments to Her Majesty's Government's initiative in starting talks with the six countries. Austria, as a member of E.F.T.A., will, of course, participate in any future consultations we have, but I cannot anticipate what decision Her Majesty's Government will in fact take.

Photo of Donald Dewar Donald Dewar , Aberdeen South

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he intends to have further discussions with President de Gaulle before a decision is made to apply for membership of the European Economic Community.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

There are no plans for any further round of discussions with Heads of Government of the Member countries of the European Economic Community.

Photo of Donald Dewar Donald Dewar , Aberdeen South

Since there are no intentions to hold more such talks, are the Government satisfied that there is no possibility of France raising objections in principle at least to Britain negotiating for entry to the E.E.C.?

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

I cannot answer for France. I recently made my views clear at a private meeting to which a good deal of public attention was given.

Photo of Mr Anthony Royle Mr Anthony Royle , Richmond (Surrey)

In view of the right hon. Gentleman's reply about France, can he tell us whether it is the Government's intention now formally to apply for membership?

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

If the hon. Gentleman had been in the House earlier when I answered Question No. 1, he would have heard me say that I have nothing to add at present.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

Has not my right hon. Friend had enough of the old gentleman? Why does he not leave him alone?

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

I am not clear which old gentleman my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) is referring to.

Photo of Mr Ernest Davies Mr Ernest Davies , Stretford

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what further consultations he has in mind to hold with European Free Trade Association countries before decisions are made about an application to join the European Economic Community.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

At the meeting of the European Free Trade Association (E.F.T.A.) Council in Stockholm at the beginning of March, it was agreed that there would be further talks after Her Majesty s Government had reviewed their own discussions in the capitals of the Community and before any final conclusions were drawn from them.

Photo of Mr Ernest Davies Mr Ernest Davies , Stretford

When considering whether to go forward with an application, would my right hon. Friend consider whether it would be profitable for some kind of joint application to be made with our E.F.T.A. partners?

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

I think that our E.F.T.A. partners—this certainly applies to us, and I believe that it applies to all of them—would much prefer to keep in close contact with each other, but that we should each be responsible for our own national actions.

Photo of Sir Knox Cunningham Sir Knox Cunningham , South Antrim

Is it the policy of Her Majesty's Government that all the E.F.T.A. members must join, or do we "go it alone"?

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

I repeat that the decision taken at the London meeting of the Heads of E.F.T.A. Governments a few months ago was that we should keep in the closest contact and consultation with each other—this was reaffirmed at Stockholm—but that each country thereafter would be responsible for what it wanted to do.