European Security and Co-operation

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17 July 1974.

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Mr. James Callaghan:

The conference has made some progress but more still remains to be done. We shall continue to work patiently and constructively with our Allies to obtain satisfactory results in all areas of the conference's work.

Photo of Mr Iain Sproat Mr Iain Sproat , Aberdeen South

When does the right hon. Gentleman see the second stage of the conference coming to an end? Does he believe that the results so far achieved justify a summit meeting, such as the Soviet Union would like? What evidence has he of a more progressive attitude, particularly on the part of the Soviet Union, with regard to confidence-building and military activities with effective machinery for settling disputes and—perhaps most importantly—will he press for a freer movement of people and ideas between East and West?

Mr. Callaghan:

With regard to the range of the second stage of the conference, I understand that a six-weeks' break has recently been agreed, and no doubt this will allow time for reflection by the participants. I then expect the conference to proceed well into the autumn. With regard to the level of the third stage, the participants have agreed that this should be decided before the end of the second stage. The level of the third stage depends upon the results that are achieved. Results have already been achieved in some areas, such as the inviolability of frontiers.

With regard to the later point raised by the hon. Gentleman, we have not yet achieved results. We must see how we get on with this before we decide on what level the third stage is to be held.

Mr. Alan Lee Williams:

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is concern about the progress of the so-called Basket III? Has he discussed with Dr. Kissinger, the question whether Dr. Kissinger or President Nixon tried to see Dr. Sakharov in Moscow?

Mr. Callaghan:

It is a little difficult to give straight replies on matters that I discussed with Dr. Kissinger. [Interruption.] I am not the only one concerned. I say to my hon. Friend, in order to try to give him a lead on this, that he may have noticed that the question of Basket III was fully discussed at the Ottawa Conference, when we agreed on the new NATO declaration, and the communiqué contained a number of references to it. My hon. Friend is right to say that there is considerable concern that we should make progress in these matters, and that is the desire of Her Majesty's Government.

Photo of Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker , Cheltenham

Will the right hon. Gentleman insist on free movement, as guaranteed under the United Nations Charter of Human Rights? Does he agree that the imprisonment of my constituent, Miss Ballantine is entirely unjustified under that charter?

Mr. Callaghan:

I would prefer not to comment on the case of Miss Ballantine at the moment, without looking at the details. As for the point about free movement, we cannot expect to overturn the philosophy and ethos of any of the members of this conference. The phrase that has been used is that there should be ' freer movement". It is a case of defining what that means. That seems to be at least some progress towards the objectives which the Government have in mind.