Oral Answers to Questions — President-Elect of the United States (Meeting)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd December 1968.

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Mr. Gresham Cooke:

asked the Prime Minister when he now plans to have a meeting with the President-elect of the United States of America.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I have at present nothing to add to the Answer I gave on 7th November to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Molloy).—[Vol. 772, c. 1076–8.]

Mr. Gresham Cooke:

Will the right hon. Gentleman consent to be photographed with Mr. Nixon, as he refused some years ago in so being? Will he press on the President-elect the fact that probably the best service he could do for Europe would be to give a lead on the question of international liquidity by either recommending a European integrated currency or possibly by revaluing gold?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I certainly have no recollection of refusing to be photographed with Mr. Nixon. At a time when he was not of the eminence of today, I remember, as Leader of the Opposition, calling on him at his hotel. There was no difficulty, as far as I recall, about photographs being taken. If the hon. Gentleman has information which is better than mine, I hope that he will send me the details.

To answer the second part of his supplementary question, the whole House will agree about the importance of further moves towards international liquidity. We look forward to discussing these questions with the new President after his inauguration on the same intimate basis as we discussed matters in the past with his predecessors.

Photo of Mr John Fraser Mr John Fraser , Lambeth Norwood

When the Prime Minister meets the President, will he discuss with him matters of common concern inside N.A.T.O., and particularly the affront to democracy now taking place in Greece? Will he discuss concerted ways of getting early restoration of democracy in that country, and throw it out of the alliance if democracy is not restored there?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I think that it would be inconceivable if I were to meet the President of the United States without discussing all matters of relevance in the N.A.T.O. field, both military and political, which are disturbing the effectiveness of the alliance.

Photo of Mr Jeremy Thorpe Mr Jeremy Thorpe , North Devon

Since the economic crisis of a few days ago could recur in a matter of months owing to the present unsatisfactory international monetary system, is there any reason why we should have to wait for the inauguration of the new President before top-level talks between representatives of our Treasury and the American Government begin? Should not these start straight away?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

This is a matter for American constitutional conventions rather than for anything affecting this House, but the right hon. Gentleman will be aware of the initiatives taken over the past four years by two Chancellors of the Exchequer on this side, and the fact that great progress has been made, although that progress has been blocked on a number of occasions by those who did not see the need for international monetary co-operation. We have also been able to build on the work of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling), and taken it further. We would like to take it further still, and we hope that the new situation will provide the opportunity.