United States Secretary of State (Talks)

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19 December 1973.

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Photo of Alan Haselhurst Alan Haselhurst , Middleton and Prestwich 12:00, 19 December 1973

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will next make an official visit to the United States of America.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

Both at the NATO meeting and subsequently in London I had the opportunity of long discussions with Dr. Kissinger over a wide range of topics. As the House understands, the substance of these discussions must remain confidential, but they were very useful to us both and we found ourselves in wide agreement.

I have no plans at present to visit the United States of America.

Photo of Alan Haselhurst Alan Haselhurst , Middleton and Prestwich

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Atlantic Alliance is facing one of its most serious crises in terms of the relationship between the United States of America and Western Europe? Should it not be an important task of the British Government, in particular during any further diplomatic encounters that may take place in the United States on the occasion of a visit by my right hon. Friend, to underline to the American administration, and perhaps to the American people as a whole, the community of interest that binds together the United States of America and Western Europe against a threat to our common defence?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

Yes, Sir. I think that what was called the crisis in NATO was largely resolved by Dr. Kissinger's presence at the Council meeting a week or so ago.

On the community of interest between the United States, Europe and Britain, I had the opportunity to make a number of broadcasts in the United States only a few weeks ago, in which I stressed that the NATO Alliance was concerned with the security not only of Europe but essentially of the United States.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey De Freitas Mr Geoffrey De Freitas , Kettering

When the Foreign Secretary eventually visits the United States will he remember what he said a few minutes ago about the importance of Canada, and ensure that the Canadian Government are kept closely in touch with any discussions concerning Atlantic defence?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

This is a necessary matter of which to remind people.

Photo of Mr Philip Goodhart Mr Philip Goodhart , Beckenham

Does my right hon. Friend realise that referring Dr. Kissinger's enormously important initiative on energy co-operation to a committee of the OECD seems psychologically to be an inadequate response? How soon will the OECD discuss this important initiative, and when can we expect some action?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

We are in touch with Dr. Kissinger and the other members of the OECD on this matter. My hon. Friend mentioned referring this matter to a committee of the OECD. He should remember that the OECD can meet at what Dr. Kissinger, called "the level of prestigious persons" whenever necessary.

Photo of Mr Ronald Murray Mr Ronald Murray , Edinburgh Leith

When the Foreign Secretary next visits the United States, will he discuss with the Americans the matters likely to be raised at the Law of the Sea Conference in Caracas? Will he assure the House that preparations in his Department are now well under way to ensure the best possible presentation of British interests, particularly in regard to fishery limits?

Photo of Major Sir Henry D'Avigdor-Goldsmid Major Sir Henry D'Avigdor-Goldsmid , Walsall South

May I draw the attention of my right hon. Friend in advance to the report of the Sub-Committee on Defence and External Affairs of the Expenditure Committee, which draws particular attention to the lack of provision in our embassy in Washington for liaison with members of Congress?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

I hope that there is no lack of close relationship between our embassy and the members of the United States Congress. I should have thought that Lord Cromer would be the last person who would have allowed that to develop. But I take note of what my hon. Friend has said.