§ 4.15 p.m.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE, FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE (THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN)
My Lords, I should like to repeat a Statement that was made by the right honourable gentleman, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, in another place a little earlier this afternoon. This is the Statement:
"With your permission Mr. Speaker and that of the House I should like to make a Statement about the meetings I attended in Brussels and Reykjavik last week. I am sure the House will forgive me if I go into some detail.
"At the meeting with the Community in Brussels in the early part of the week we reached agreement on a number of important points. For convenience I will deal with the matters in the order in which they arose.
"First there was a satisfactory measure of agreement on Euratom. When this subject was first broached, the Community asked the candidate countries for compensation for access to the assets of Euratom. We said we did not think this request was justified, and I am glad to say that it was withdrawn. We have now agreed in principle to an exchange of knowledge of equivalent value, to take place immediately after our entry. We have also settled a number of legal issues arising out of our acceptance of the Euratom Treaty, including its application to our dependent territories, with the exception of Hong Kong.
"Next, tariff quotas. We reached agreement on arrangements for twelve industrial products which we at present import wholly or mainly duty free, and where it appeared that the imposition of the Common External Tariff would have meant a new charge on supplies to British industry. The products in question are phosphorus, silicone carbide, wattle extract, plywood, wood pulp, newsprint, ferro chrome, ferro silicone, aluminium, lead and zinc. The only product on which we have yet to settle is alumina.
36 "The effect of the arrangements we have made is that around 90 per cent. of our imports of these commodities from outside the enlarged Community would continue to be imported duty-free.
"The Community also agreed to an indefinite suspension of the Common External Tariff on tea. With permission I will circulate details of these inevitably complicated arrangements in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
"We then dealt with the important issue of agricultural transition and Community preference. Here we were able to settle the main problems, and agree on a basis on which the remaining points of detail can be worked out.
"Briefly, we would adopt the mechanism of the Common Agricultural Policy at the beginning of the transitional period, but our transition to Community prices would be achieved by six even steps spread over five years. The deficiency payments system would be phased out gradually during that period. British producers and consumers and third countries should thus have time enough to make the adjustments which in many cases would be necessary.
"On trade with third countries, we have secured explicit recognition by the Community that if circumstances arose during the transitional period in which significant volumes of trade risked serious disruption, then the enlarged Community would deal with the position.
"The Community would likewise take rapid and effective action to deal with any difficulties which might arise in the operation of the transitional mechanisms.
"The Community recognised that we had a special problem over horticulture. Here it was agreed first that tariff adjustment for horticultural products should proceed at a slower rate; secondly that no move on horticultural tariffs should take place until a year after our accession; thirdly that there would be provision for flexibility in the adjustment of horticultural tariffs to permit some modifications of the process if necessary; and finally that for apples and pears, where there is a special problem arising from surpluses 37 in the Community, we should replace our quota arrangements at the beginning of transition by a system of compensatory levies, off-setting the difference between British and Community prices. These levies would be gradually phased out during the transition period as British and Community prices come into line.
"Taken together, these measures should ensure that British horticulture gets the exceptional treatment which it needs.
"I now turn to the question of our contribution to the Community budget. As the House will know, there are several ways of approaching this difficult and important problem.
"The Community has now suggested an entirely new approach, based on certain initial principles.
"The idea is that a percentage—or key—would be set, which would vary by small amounts anually, and would represent the proportion of the Community budget which we would notionally be expected to pay in each of the years of the transitional period. But the sums actually payable in each year would be reduced by a large amount at the start of the transitional period and by a progressively smaller amount as time went on until we arrived at full acceptance of the Community's direct income system.
"An important and favourable development is that the Community admits the possibility of a further period of correctives after the end of the transitional period.
"While welcoming this new approach, I made it clear that its usefulness could only be assessed when precise figures were attached to the formula to enable us to see what we would actually be paying. But if the figures were fair and reasonable. I see no reason why the present proposal should not provide the means of arriving at a solution satisfactory to all concerned.
"Finally I come to two related questions: that of the association with the Community of the developing Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean and Indian and Pacific Oceans; and that of future imports of sugar from the developing Commonwealth countries.
38 "The Community have row agreed that they are prepared to reaffirm the 1963 Declaration of Intent in respect of the independent Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean, Mauritius, Fiji, Western Samoa and Tonga. This declaration offered a choice, between two forms of association and a trading agreement. I warmly welcomed its reaffirmation, which would give the countries concerned complete and wide protection and freedom of chose. They would have up to 1975 to negotiate these arrangements with the enlarged Community, of which we should of course then be a member. Until then our existing pattern of trade with them would remain unchanged.
"As regards sugar, the Community on the 11th of May undertook to bear in mind the importance of sugar for the economies of the developing Commonwealth countries concerned after 1974, and suggested that the question should be settled within the framework of negotiations on whatever form of association or trading agreement these countries wanted.
"I replied that this approach was helpful but needed clarification. I did not think that the undertaking, so far as sugar was concerned, was sufficiently firm to provide the sort of assurance which the Caribbean countries and other sugar producers had always needed
"In the early hours of the 13th May after further contacts, the Community put an additional text to us. They now said that it would be the firm purpose of the enlarged Community to safeguard the interests of the countries in question whose economies depended to a considerable degree on the export of primary products, in particular sugar.
"This text amounts to more than a declaration of intention. It is both a specific and a moral commitment.
"I can now say this to the developing sugar producing countries of the Commonwealth.
"There would be room in the enlarged Community, of which Britain would be part, both for present quantities of sugar from these countries at remunerative prices and for the development of sugar beet production.
39 "With the safeguards now promised I believe that the House can be satisfied that these countries will not suffer from our entry into the Community. The assurances which successive British Governments have given to these developing countries have now been double-banked by the Community's commitment.
"I thanked the Community for their declaration but made it clear that before accepting it, I must consult the Commonwealth countries concerned. I am hoping to arrange these consultations in the very near future.
"I believe that the progress on all these points which was made in Brussels last week is a clear demonstration of the Community's desire to carry the negotiations rapidly forward to a successful conclusion. We shall be meeting again at an additional Ministerial meeting in Luxembourg on the 7th June.
"At the end of the week I was in Reykjavik for discussions with my Ministerial colleagues of the European Free Trade Association.
"My colleagues unanimously expressed satisfaction at the progress made in the Brussels negotiations and in the discussions the European Free Trade Association countries were having with the Community. They expressed their confidence that all European Free Trade Association countries would be able to participate in the progress of European integration in a way acceptable to the Community and to themselves."
§ 4.25 p.m.
§ LORD CHALFONT
My Lords, I should like first to thank the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, for repeating that long Statement. Of course it will be necessary for us to examine it with very great care—with more care than we have had time for at the moment. However, it is a very important Statement and I hope the House will bear with me if I make certain brief comments and ask a number of specific questions on it.
I note that the proposed Agreement with regard to Euratom and I confess I am slightly puzzled by the phrase " the exchange of knowledge of equivalent 40 value". I wonder what sort of value is meant there—because these are un-quantifiable matters affecting the technology of nuclear physics. I am not sure who is going to decide what information is of " equivalent value ". I put a specific question to the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian: will he assure the House that the decision about " equivalent value " will be a political one and not one that is left to the officials of the European Atomic Community?
With regard to industrial products and tea, as the noble Marquess said, these are complicated matters and we shall await the opportunity to study the details in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
On the question of the transitional period for agriculture, the Statement indicates that the main problems have been settled. That seems to me to be rather optimistic. Six steps over five years seem to be rather less than might have been hoped for in terms of the transition for agriculture. I recognise that in negotiations certain concessions are inevitable, and it may be that this is one of the concessions that was forced upon the Government in the course of negotiations so all I can say to-day is that we shall have to wait and see how this fits into the total package. We shall have to see what concessions the Government have extracted from the Six in exchange for this important concession on their part.
On the question of horticulture, we must adopt a similar wait-and-see attitude until we see what the full package comprises. However, there is one aspect of the Statement that interests me in particular, and I should like to ask what is meant by " a slower rate " for horticulture? Does that mean that the transitional period for horticulture is to be greater than five years? If not, what is the significance of those words?
On the question of the contribution to the Community's budget, I think that the situation is still, to say the least, obscure. The formula put forward in the Statement seems to be nothing more than a face-saving version of the precise point which has been put forward from the British side for many years; that is, that the contribution should begin with a very small one and increase gradually over the transitional period. If the statement's formula means anything other 41 than that, I shall be interested to know what it is. I should also be interested to know what is meant by the corrective after the transitional period. Does that mean that the percentages of the Community's budget are to be altered? It seems to me here that if the United Kingdom is going to pay less others will have to pay more.
The question of the Commonwealth seems to be by far the most important and significant part of the Statement. I am sorry to say that for me it contains absolutely nothing new at all. There is much talk of " firm purpose " and of " a moral commitment " to the countries of the Commonwealth. If the reports in the Press are true, there was at one time talk of " bankable guarantees ". In the kinds of banks with which I am familiar, moral commitments are certainly not bankable—indeed, it would be surprising if they were. The important matter is that the Government have undertaken that there will be consultation with the Commonwealth before this agreement is arrived at. I am sure that one of the questions that will be asked of the Government by the Commonwealth countries is who will decide what the interests of the Commonwealth are after these negotiations are complete. It is all very well to say that the Community will " safeguard the interests " of the Commonwealth: I ask; who is going to decide those interests once the negotiations are complete and the Treaty of Rome is signed.
I hope that I may still have the indulgence of the House in asking a specific and important question of the noble Marquess. Will he seek an assurance, and will the Government give the assurance, that after consultation with the Commonwealth about these proposed arrangements, there will he a report to Parliament before any further negotiations begin on June 7? I was going to ask for reassurance about the kind of things that his right honourable friend the Prime Minister will be seeking to discuss in Paris, but I recognise that he can give no assurances about those matters—I doubt whether anybody in the Government can. But will the noble Marquess accept that we on this side hope that the Prime Minister, in his talks with the French President, will not make any concessions of a political or military kind outside the package of agreement 42 that his right honourable friend is trying to achieve in Brussels?
Finally, will the noble Marquess accept, that whatever may he our personal views about these negotiations, and about the whole question of European unity and the enlargement of the Common Market, there is now grave disquiet in mar y parts of this country about the way these negotiations are proceeding? And will he also accept that the Statement we have had this afternoon, on its own, will do very little to remove that disquiet?
§ 4.32 p.m.
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, unlike the Labour Opposition, we on these Benches have taken note of the Statement with great satisfaction. We can all regard as satisfactory—even the noble Lord who has just sat down:an regard as satisfactory—the arrangements now made regarding Euratom, raw materials and tea. The arrangements in the transitional periods for agricultural are also good so far as they go. All these arrangements, generally speaking, are acceptable as such to anybody who really wants the present negotiations to succeed. Horticulture is a difficult point. It seems, however, to us to have been satisfactorily dealt with. I agree that in any case horticulture under this arrangement gets the necessary and exceptional treatment which it must get.
As for our contribution to tie Central Agricultural Fund. this is extremely important owing to its direct effect on our balance of payments. We must clearly await the precise figures before making up our minds. On the face of it. it looks as if this point will not in itself present much further difficulty. There remain the problems affecting our tropical ex-dependencies. In spite of what the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, has said, the great thing is that the Declaration of Intent now includes all the so-called sugar islands. They will now have no difficulty about exporting their bananas, and so on. which was the subject of concern in the debate which we recently had on this -matter. I suggest that this in itself is a matter for congratulation. It may be that the proposed undertaking on sugar it still not quite firm enough, although I should have thought that all concerned might find it, on consideration, to be so. What is undeniable is that the recent agreement in 43 Brussels has been great evidence of good will on the part of our opposite numbers.
All things considered, I repeat that anybody who wants the negotiations to succeed must congratulate the Government warmly on the progress made. We hope and believe that equally satisfactory conditions will soon be worked out as regards New Zealand's exports of dairy products. This indeed seems to be the only really serious outstanding point.
§ LORD BOOTHBY
My Lords, before the noble Marquess replies, may I ask one simple and brief question? Was the question of fisheries policy raised, either in Brussels or Reykjavik? If not, will it be raised at the forthcoming meeting in Luxembourg?
§ 4.36 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
My Lords, if I may answer one or two of the points that have already been raised—
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
I was thinking that others may be raised. May I thank the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, for his thoughtful remarks about the Statement. He gave it a qualified welcome, having his doubts about certain matters. I am not going to make a speech, but I will try to answer as many questions as I can. The noble Lord made the point (which, I must say, had struck me when I first read the Statement) about Euratom and the question of knowledge " of equivalent value ". This is an extremely hard factor to quantify. I will give him the undertaking that the decision concerning this matter would be a political one. He also asked a question about horticulture and the concept of a slower rate. This derives from the fact that the process is going to start a year later than for the normal agricultural products; therefore, it will take a year longer. My understanding is that for matters concerning horticulture the arrangements will tend to be a great deal more flexible.
The noble Lord also talked about the financial contribution to the Community. It is in a sense true that the position has not changed greatly, in that we shall be paying a smaller amount to start with and increasing our contribution over the years. 44 As the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, has said, until we know what figures are proposed, it is impossible to say whether or not we shall be in a position to agree with it.
So far as the Commonwealth is concerned, and the question of the sugar arrangements, I noticed that the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, expressed great reservations about this, that the moral commitment could not be a bankable assurance. After a great deal of negotiation, my right honourable friend—who I think the House will agree is extremely astute, competent and very firm in sticking up for the interests of this country and our dependents—came to the conclusion that this was a very firm commitment. At the same time, he said that he would not agree to it until he had consulted with his friends, the sugar-producing countries in the Commonwealth. He is hoping to do that at very short notice now. The noble Lord also asked whether I can give an assurance that the results of these contacts with the sugar-producing countries could be communicated to Parliament before the next meeting of the Six. The House will realise that I personally cannot give that assurance to-day. I will undertake to pass that message on to my right honourable friend, but I should not like to give a categorical assurance this afternoon.
I should also like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, for his kind and friendly reception of the Statement. He asked one question with regard to New Zealand, which is not mentioned in the Statement. The reason for this is that, apart from the fact that my right honourable friend repeated our position over New Zealand, and emphasised again the continuing and vital interest in that country, the matter was not discussed at this meeting; nor, I think, was the question of fish.
§ LORD CAMPBELL OF ESKAN
My Lords, while recognising and appreciating the Government's constructive intentions for sugar, as expressed in the Statement, is the noble Marquess aware that, unless beet production is effectively controlled between now and 1975, and special access arrangements settled for Commonwealth cane sugar, moral commitments and good intentions are simply not susceptible of fulfilment? The whole direction of the sugar regulations seems to ensure that 45 European beet, already in considerable surplus, will be available to supply the British market at the expense of sugar from developing countries. Would the noble Marquess agree that, whatever Britain's intentions may he to maintain room for Commonwealth cane sugar exports in an enlarged Europe, they would only be able to do so by a unanimous agreement of the enlarged Community at the expense of beet sugar, which hardly seems to me a bankable proposition—more likely" bankruptable".
Finally, bearing in mind that consultation means more than informing or explaining" After the dossier has been closed ", to quote M. Schumann, would not the noble Marquess agree that the dossier is by no means closed?
§ LORD AYLESTONE
My Lords, on the same point, may I ask the noble Marquess whether the proposed arrangements for Commonwealth sugar include, or exclude, sugar from Australia to the United Kingdom?
§ LORD ROYLE
My Lords, may I follow up the point with regard to sugar, adding to what my noble friends Lord Chalfont and Lord Campbell have tried to elicit from the Minister. Does this Statement actually mean that the situation as it is at the moment, and the system in operation at the moment with regard to guaranteed prices and guaranteed sale and purchase, will continue without interference?
§ 4.43 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
My Lords, I realise of course the genuine worry that is felt in all parts of the House on the question of sugar. I take the point that the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Eskan, is making, regarding the possibility of flooding the market with beet sugar over the next few years. I suspect that it is not the case that the French, for example, can increase their beet production very much under their present Market rules. At the same time, of course, if they had anything in mind, it would in my opinion—and I think in the opinion of the Government—be a direct breach of the firm commitment which was given to my right honourable friend in Brussels last week.
I can only say that my right honourable friend is convinced that the assur- 46 ance and the commitment teat he got from the Community really is a firm one, and it means what it says: that the Commonwealth exporting sugar countries should not suffer in any way under the arrangements that are proposed. At the same time, he is going to consult with them, and have, I should tell the House, very deep consultations with them before agreeing to this proposal. On the question of the noble Lord, Lord Aylestone, I should like to have notice of that point because I am really not aware of the answer.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, is it not a fact that from time to time countries within the Common Market have themselves broken their rules under the Treaty of Rome? May I ask, in view of the assurances that the noble Marquess believes have been obtained from the countries of the Common Market, whether one country would have a right of veto on any continuation of this agreement when perhaps the other five, or other members of the Community, were prepared to go along with it? This question was asked of the Prime Minister in another place on Thursday, and I wonder whether the noble Marquess can answer it now.
THE MARQUESS OF LOTHAN
My Lords, one would hope it would never come to any question of a veto. My understanding is that it would be extremely difficult for five countries out of the Six to go ahead if one—at any rate of the major countries concerned—expressed disapproval.
§ LORD BALOGH
My Lords, will the noble Marquess not agree that the ex-British Caribbean countries have received very different treatment indeed from the French Caribbean countries, which are able to sell unlimited quantities of cane sugar at £90 a ton in the European Community? The very great victory and concession does not seem to quite so glorious as it seems to be to the noble Marquess. I would like also to ask him whether he would not agree that the Statement ought to be published in the original French, because in the translation there are many slips between the intention and the performance?
47 Would he not agree also that in that Statement it is not simply the quantity and the proceeds that have to be guaranteed? It is very possible that words, which I remember the noble Marquess used, on " safeguarding the general interest of these countries " can well mean that, instead of the sugar, a subsidy will be offered to the Commonwealth countries, in which case some of those countries which cannot switch from sugar—such as Mauritius and Fiji—would really be condemned to a slow death?
Will he finally not agree with me that, to say the least, my interpretation of this assurance is very much more in common with an advertisement of the French beet sugar producers, which I can let the noble Marquess have if he so desires? He does not seem to be very well informed on what is going on in France. It says precisely that there will be no guarantee for the sugar proceeds.
§ LORD ORR-EWING
My Lords, is it not true that there are already 18 or 19 ex-Colonial developing countries which get special trading agreements under the Yaounde Agreement? If we enter the Common Market would we not be able to negotiate quite as favourable terms for our ex-Colonial and developing countries in respect of sugar and every other commodity? Is it not also true—the question of veto arose—that if we are inside the Common Market we would be able to exercise a veto just as well as anyone else?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
My Lords, if I might reply first of all to my noble friend, it is perfectly true as he says about our 19 Commonwealth countries who are associated under the Yaounde Agreement. It is also perfectly true that the countries that are not at the moment associated with the Common Market—the countries we have been talking about this afternoon—can negotiate a similar type of agreement if they should wish to do so. That will certainly protect their interests very greatly. The noble Lord, Lord Balogh, really drew attention to the same point when he pointed out that the French-associated 48 countries under the Yaounde Agreement do appear to have great advantages at the moment.
§ LORD BALOGH
My Lords, with due respect, the noble Marquess misinterprets my words. On the contrary, I said that the French Caribbean islands, which are not in the Yaounde Agreement—if I may correct the noble Marquess with great humility and respect—have received a completely different settlement. So far as the Yaounde Agreement is concerned (and I have just been to Madagascar on United Nations business), they have not got safeguards on sugar. On the contrary, they have been left in the most miserable condition so far as sugar is concerned, and they are now trying to negotiate with one another to substitute for the original sugar situation.
§ 4.50 p.m.
THE EARL OF SELKIRK
My Lords, my noble friend talked about legal arrangements with dependent territories except Hong Kong. Are we excluding Hong Kong from any part of these negotiations or considerations?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
My Lords, the question of Hong Kong has been left at the moment, because both Hong Kong and ourselves have agreed that this matter should be left open for the time being. I cannot remember exactly whose questions I am meant to be answering. The noble Lord, Lord Balogh, suggested that the Statement—I do not know whether he meant this Statement—ought to be in French. I agree with him that some of the difficulties facing negotiations of this type—and this is why it is so important to go slowly—arise precisely because of difficulties of translation from French into English and vice-versa.
§ LORD WELLS-PESTELL
My Lords, when the noble Marquess referred to Euratom at the beginning of the Statement, he said that exchange of information of equivalent value would have to be discussed immediately after our entry. Does that not imply that decision to enter has already been made.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
No, my Lords; it does not imply that at all. All the remarks which I have made on this Statement and elsewhere are remarks 49 contingent on the possibility of our entering. Obviously, this is another difficulty of verbiage, but in this case I think English is quite satisfactory to make our meaning clear.
§ LORD HOY
My Lords, may I ask one further question about the fishing industry? We find it extremely difficult to understand how a meeting of E.F.T.A. could be held in Reykjavik, of all places, without the position of the fishing industry arising. Fishing is of absolutely paramount importance to Iceland, as well as being of importance to this country. Can the noble Marquess tell us whether, if they have not already discussed it, it is the intention to discuss this subject at the next meeting of Ministers in Luxembourg?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
My Lords, to be absolutely frank, I do not know whether or not this matter was discussed at Reykjavik. I should think it very probably was. My feeling is—and I speak subject to correction—that this is one of the subjects which will be discussed at the next meeting. But this is really a matter for my right honourable friend and I shall certainly pass on to him what the noble Lord has said.
§ LORD SHINWELL
My Lords, is it not obvious that these provisional agreements and alleged concessions mean only that the Government are getting ready for the " sell out "? Is not that what they really mean? There is really nothing substantial in any of the concessions. I should like to ask the noble Marquess about the proposed meeting between the Prime Minister and the French President. Can we have some assurance, following what my noble friend Lord Chalfont said on another point, that the Prime Minister, in his subterranean undercover fashion, is not going to agree to some political alignment which would be unacceptable to the majority of people in this country? In particular, can we have an assurance that there will be no understanding about providing the French Government with any atomic know-how which has hitherto been desired by the French, but which has been prevented from getting to them?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
My Lords, I fancy that no agreement to which my right honourable friend could 50 come in Brussels would satisfy the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell. I cannot agree with him that this is in any way a " sell out ". As to what my right honourable friend the Prime Minister is going to discuss with the French President later this week, I am sure that he will take note of what the noble Lord has said. I have no doubt that the talks will be very wide-ranging indeed.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, refraining at this moment from political argument, may I ask one incidental question? I he Statement named the sugar countries in considerable detail—the Caribbean islands, Mauritius, Fiji. Tonga and others. Was the exclusion of Swaziland deliberate? Was it because it has associations with the South African agreement regarding sugar? I should like an answer to that question.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
My Lords, I am sure that there is no hidden, sinister reason for the non-mention of Swaziland in the Statement. I think the noble Lord is quire wrong about that.
§ LORD LEATHERLAND
My Lords, may I ask a question as a man who provides the housekeeping money each week? My question concerns the noble Marquess's statement on the agricultural transitional arrangements. He said that our six years' transition to Community prices will give us time enough to make adjustments. Will he tell us whether the word " adjustments" means increases in food prices?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
My Lords, " adjustments " means going through the process, which in fact has already begun in this country, of changing over from one system to another.
§ LORD LEATHERLAND
My Lords, the noble Marquess is a mister of language, but there are words such as Yes and No. Will this mean an increase in food prices?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
As the noble Lord knows, food prices have been increasing in this country for very many years past.
§ LORD LEATHERLAND
My Lords, the noble Marquess has not answered the question. Has he something to hide? Can he answer it?
§ BARONESS PLUMMER
My Lords, at the risk of boring the House about sugar, it seems that the operative word in the sugar problem is "safeguards". I should like the Minister to elaborate on the word "safeguards", because I have not heard anything about them. I may be hard of hearing. Will he take into account the different conditions in various countries? As the noble Marquess knows, the cane sugar countries have to plan ahead, but the sugar beet countries need only a year.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
Yes, my Lords. Of course this is something which my right honourable friend is going to take into account, and it will no doubt be one of the matters which he will be discussing with the countries concerned.
§ LORD CHALFONT
My Lords, I think the House will probably agree that we have had a very good innings on this long and important Statement. If the House agrees, perhaps I can bring it to a close by asking one final question which leads from something that my noble friend Lord Shinwell asked. My noble friend asked about the exchange of nuclear military information with the
§ French, to which the noble Marquess returned a suitable Parliamentary answer. I should like to put it in this form. The Government have already given assurances that this subject will not he discussed in the context of the Common Market negotiations. Has the Government's position changed.