THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: ‘Big Three’ talks prospects, Sir Winston has nothing further to add
From the News Letter, July 28, 1954
Answering questions suggestions for a “Big Three” conference to discuss international difficulties following the success the Geneva Conference at Westminster the previous day, the Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, said he had nothing to add to his previous statement on the subject of top level conferences.
“The Government intends to take all possible steps to decrease tension, whether through established bodies or by special measures,” the British Prime Minister said.
Mr Shinwell (Labour, Easington) complained that the Prime Minister often said he “had nothing to add and asked whether that was not repetition.”
There was loud laughter when the Speaker commented: “The only order against repetition when it is when it is tedious.”
The Reverend R W Sorensen (Labour, Leyton) said that “the omens at this time were rather encouraging” and he asked if the Prime Minister could give “rather more definite assurance as to what he might do in the near future”.
Sir Winston did not answer, and Mr C Osborne (Conservative, Louth) asked: “What has he done to the official Opposition so that it regards him as the world’s greatest apostle of peace, when three years ago they said he was warmonger?”
Mr Bevan said that since the subject matter of the original questions might be been partly covered by the recent ‘Note from Russia’, the House should be told the Government’s answer to that ‘Note’ before the summer recess.
Sir Winston replied: “I cannot guarantee that all the complexities of the situation will be cleared away in the next few days. The recent proposal by the Soviet Government raises important questions connected with conferences, all of which must be discussed between the three allies.”
Mr Bevan said that it was “extremely undesirable” that the House should disperse “without first knowing what was to be the answer on an important matter of this sort”.
Sir Winston said: “It does disperse at different seasons in the year, and I understood that he had made his plans for distant journeys.”
Mr Bevan replied: “Then may I ask does he really believe that he cannot, with the other nations concerned, make up their minds on this before August 9?”
Sir Winston replied: “The Soviet answer to our message of May took over two months to prepare and was only delivered two days ago. I really think we must have an opportunity to consider this.”