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10.23 am

Mr. Gerald Kaufman (Manchester, Gorton) : I welcome the Foreign Secretary to his new post. He and I have faced each other across this table before, and I know that his greatest wish has been to reach the Foreign Office : I congratulate him on achieving his ambition. The right hon. Gentleman takes office at a time of great challenge, and of many hopes and opportunities--if those opportunities can only be grasped. Elsewhere, sadly, grievous problems remain intractable. The right hon. Gentleman has mentioned one this morning--the problem of the boat people in Hong Kong.

Having visited the boat people earlier this year, I recognise the sad and degrading circumstances in which they live ; I recognise, too, that Hong Kong--being a territory of limited area--finds it difficult to keep such large numbers for long. I have to say, however, that a policy of what the right hon. Gentleman has called involuntary repatriation, but what must more brutally be acknowledged as forcible repatriation, is not the right way in which to deal with the problem.

The right hon. Gentleman said that one reason why he believed that it might be necessary to resort to involuntary--or

forcible--repatriation was that the people had no individual reason to fear political persecution. That is a comment on the nature of the Government in Vietnam, and is in direct contradistinction to the Government's attitude to Vietnam so far. Their policy on Cambodia has been to say that that Government are unacceptable because Vietnam put them in power. If people have no logical reason to be political refugees from Vietnam, a different approach to Vietnam is required--along with, I feel, a different approach to economic aid to that country.

The right hon. Gentleman referred to individual aid for Vietnamese boat people who return. Surely, however, he and his right hon. Friends should consider that if economic aid were provided in a sensible way for Vietnam, standards would be raised and the tendency for people to leave would be somewhat reduced. We need a phased and structured policy on the issue, rather than simply deciding that the only way in which to deal with the difficulties and embarrassment caused by the boat people in Hong Kong-- which I acknowledge--is to bundle them back to Vietnam.

In his opening remarks, the right hon. Gentleman referred to the assassination of the new President of Lebanon : that was the latest savage episode in the bloody history of that tormented country. Opposition Members regret the failure of the latest attempt by the Arab League to achieve a settlement. It confirms my fear that no solution to the travails of Lebanon --including the necessary withdrawal of all foreign troops--can be achieved without an overall middle east settlement. The first step towards such a settlement could be tantalisingly close : my own talks with principal players in the drama, including a meeting with President Mubarak in Cairo last month, have convinced me that there is now a broad consensus on the need for talks to solve the Palestine problem--a necessary precursor to a general middle east conference.

The Labour Ministers in the Israeli cabinet--whose courage I applaud--the Palestine Liberation Organisation, the Egyptians and the Americans are all moving towards acceptance of a common agenda. Only the Likud section of the Israeli Government are blocking

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progress. I hope that the Foreign Secretary will use all the methods available to him to put pressure on Mr. Shamir, and will urge the Americans to do the same.

Another part of the world in which we should use our good offices to hasten a belated settlement is Central America. More than two years after the Guatemala accord, progress there is still far too slow. Nicaragua has done more than any other signatory to fulfil the terms of the accord, although there have been setbacks and mistakes. Events in El Salvador, however, continue to be deeply depressing : I am sure that every hon. Member is horrified by the murder of David Blundy. The taking of American hostages might have led to serious consequences, and we welcome the fact that those men have now been released. We must ask, however, what American special forces were doing there in the first place.

Although they have burned their fingers many times, the CIA and other American special agencies seem unable to resist the temptation to dabble in Central American politics and military affairs. The United States spends $1 million a day in fomenting strife in El Salvador. I hope that the Government will do what they can to urge acceptance of the FMLN proposal for a ceasefire as a prelude to talks between both sides at the highest level. It was sad that the ARENA Government instantly rejected the call for a ceasefire, which could at least end the dreadful bloodshed.

Mr. Jacques Arnold (Gravesham) : Why does the right hon. Gentleman support the Nicaraguan Government's action in breaking the ceasefire to attack the opposition forces in that country? What great differences are there between the Nicaraguan Government doing that and the El Salvador Government reacting to revolutionary activities in their country?

Mr. Kaufman : The Nicaraguan Government maintained a ceasefire for a long time and I applauded them for doing so. I was sorry that they felt obliged to end the ceasefire in view of the Contra offensives. I hope that a ceasefire can be reinstated. I have urged the Nicaraguan Government always to take the most ameliorative measures to respond to the international desire for progress in their country and in Central America as a whole. The problem is that in El Salvador there is no such response. Death squads are rampant there. That would worry Conservative Members if they sought to view events in Central America in a balanced way. A ceasefire in Nicaragua could be monitored by the United Nations which, for the first time, is playing an active part in the region.

In southern Africa, the portents are mixed. In Namibia elections were conducted fairly, despite the wrecking tactics of South African Koevoet and the sinister role of Louis Pienaar, the South African Administrator General. I had the opportunity to meet that gentleman in his castle in the hill in Windhoek. It is essential that Namibia moves smoothly to independence. I hope, and I hope that the Government share my hope, that Namibia will become a member of the Commonwealth. Mr. Pienaar told me, almost with relish, that he had left Namibia almost bankrupt. Aid from the West is essential if this experiment in independence and democracy is not to fail, as the South African Government would clearly like.

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Cosmetic change in South Africa is not to be scorned, but it is to be suspected and does not begin to suffice. There must be a repeal of the group areas Act which is the cornerstone of apartheid. There must be an end to arrests, detentions, banning, imprisonment and executions. I hope that the Foreign Secretary will add his voice to those who call for the reprieve and release of the Upington 16, yet another group of people wrongly held on death row because of the abominable South African doctrine of common purpose.

As I saw for myself earlier this year in South Africa, that country is in the most literal sense of the term a police state. The apparatus of repression and terror is present in South Africa for one purpose only--to maintain the economic supremacy of the whites, which has been attained by exploitation and suppression of the majority of the population. Apartheid exists for white economic supremacy and that is why economic methods should be used against it. There is no doubt that even the limited sanctions now in operation have been effective in forcing change in South Africa, however limited. When I was in South Africa I heard ministerial speeches which made that perfectly clear. I heard laments about the effect of sanctions from the Finance Minister, the Law and Order Minister and even the Sports Minister, who complained about the impact of sanctions on his area of responsibility. Nothing would demonstrate more clearly that the Foreign Secretary is his own man than the conversion of the Government to a policy which is advocated by the whole of the Commonwealth except one member--the United Kingdom. He will have the support of the Opposition in all the positive actions that he takes.

Mr. Tim Rathbone (Lewes) : As many of my hon. Friends know, I share the hon. Gentleman's beliefs about South Africa. However, I do not share his advocacy of sanctions. He does a disservice to the Government's great contribution to the slow--much too slow--movement towards change in South Africa, which they have encouraged by maintaining their present stance.

Mr. Kaufman : The hon. Gentleman has his opinion, but I believe that it is misguided, even though he states that he shares the objectives of hon. Members on this side of the House.

I discussed sanctions at great length with church people and others in South Africa. I was particularly impressed by a representative of the Transvaal women's movement, a black woman, who told me of the dreadful problems that her community faces. Advocating sanctions, indeed begging for them, she said :

"We would rather share with each other what little we have than see our children dying of state violence in the streets".

Choices have to be made. The hon. Gentleman, I am sure for the best of motives, has made his but we share the choices of the mass democratic movement in South Africa.

Sir Ian Lloyd (Havant) : Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Kaufman : No, I wish to move on. The hon. Gentleman has parti pris on this matter.

In particular, the Foreign Secretary will have our support in fulfilling the commitment that he made in an interview soon after taking office when he said :

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"I think a Foreign Secretary needs to have ideas of his own and to run his own department. I think that is very important ... My relationship with the Prime Minister will go on being loyal and co-operative but clearly not subservient."

Those were good words spoken in an interview with Devon radio. Maggie, art thou sleeping there below?

The Foreign Secretary's most testing task was set for him in a leading article in the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday. It stated : "In any reconciliation between Mrs. Thatcher and our European partners, the Foreign Secretary has a critical broker's role to play."

In other words, the Foreign Secretary has the unenviable assignment of standing as an intermediary between the Prime Minister and reality not only in our relationship with the European Community but in most of Britain's other international relationships. The bizarre antics of the Prime Minister pose a problem for the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. That problem was plainly beyond the present Leader of the House, and the present Chancellor of the Exchequer was happily relieved of it after his painful experience at Kuala Lumpur. The new Foreign Secretary showed himself fully aware of the problem in an interview on "Newsnight" on 2 November. Declaring flatly that he would not have used the language employed by the Prime Minister in her Bruges speech, the speech that lost 13 European seats, the right hon. Gentleman confessed :

"The tone is very important. And, I am very keen that our tone should show that we are in the centre of moving Europe and not on the margin throwing stones at it."

The problem is that we are on the margins of the European Community, NATO and the Commonwealth.

The right hon. Gentleman's predecessor, Lord Carrington, warned against the danger in a television interview this week when he said :

"We have got to be involved and appear to want to get Europe going and not perhaps be marginalised by saying No' before we start talking about it."

The Foreign Secretary experienced the problem for himself a couple of weeks ago at a meeting of European Foreign Ministers, a report of which in the Daily Telegraph was headed, "Lone Battle by Hurd". This morning the Foreign Secretary said,

"We are on the fast track",

but the press verdict on the Government's international performance is so adverse that if this was a play by Sir Ronald Millar, rather than a series of Prime Ministerial pronouncements partly written by Sir Ronald Millar, the show would have closed by now. The Daily Mail stated, "Outnumbered 11- 1." The Times stated, "Mrs. Thatcher's Lone Opposition." The Sundary Telegraph stated :

"Britain More Isolated Than Ever."

The Times stated :

"Britain Drifted Further Into Isolation."

The Financial Times stated, "UK Isolated." The Daily Mail stated, "Britain Stands Alone." The Independent stated, "Britain Isolated." The Sunday Telegraph stated :

"Britain Is Resisting Mounting Pressure From Most Of Its EEC Partners".

That was written of the environment, which is the Prime Minister's latest toy and soon, I fear, to be left discarded and battered on the nursery floor like other former playthings, such as football hooliganism and litter disposal. The Daily Telegraph stated : "Britain's Lone Battle Against Workers Rights."

The Independent stated :

"Washington : President Bush is growing worried about Mrs. Thatcher, seen here as becoming increasingly isolated.

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The Minister of State for Defence Procurement (Mr. Alan Clark) : Why does not the right hon. Gentleman write his own speeches instead of pinching it all from journalists?

Mr. Kaufman : The Minister of State for Defence Procurement pays little attention to the international press, but others, including , I suspect, the Foreign Office care about what our international partners think about us.

The Financial Times stated :

"Mrs. Thatcher and Britain have appeared to be reluctant and increasingly isolated."

The official bulletin of the Commission of the European Communities of 2 November stated, "UK Isolated." The right hon. Member for Ayr (Sir G. Younger), who left his post as Secretary of State for Defence while the going was good, said when he still held that position : "I hope never to see Britain in a minority of one at Nato."--[ Official Report, 9 May 1989 ; Vol. 152 c. 718.]

Yet at the latest NATO summit the Danish Prime Minister said : "Except for Mrs. Thatcher everyone around this table here is in agreement."

The Prime Minister has become the Ceausescu of NATO. She is as out of tune with developments in our Alliance as the Romanian dictator is in his. It is significant that both Ceausescu and the Prime Minister have announced that, given the chance, they intend to stay in office permanently. The only question is who will be toppled first. I do not know whether there is an equivalent to the hon. Member for Clwyd, North-West (Sir A. Meyer) in the Romanian Parliament.

That is a dreadful reputation for any Prime Minister to have merited, for any Foreign Secretary to have to shoulder and for any country to be forced to endure, especially the United Kingdom. Although we are no longer a world power and do not aspire to be a superpower, we are a country which, under successive Governments, has earned a great reputation that should not be frittered away. We are the only country to be a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, and a member of NATO, the European Community, the Commonwealth and of the seven major economic powers. Those intersections give us a unique opportunity for influence, if we care to exercise it. Most unfortunately, at present we do not. We are widely seen as negative and obstructive.

The United Kingdom's performance last month at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting at Kuala Lumpur was disgraceful. While other countries wished to discuss a whole spectrum of important issues, of which development and debt are the most crucial to the economic future of the world, the Prime Minister once again bogged down the conference on the issue of South Africa, allowing her then Foreign Secretary to draft an agreement, only an hour later to repudiate it in a manner which alienated all our Commonwealth partners. What is more, she glorified in it. Not for her, an Englishman's word is his bond. The Prime Minister prefers the reputation of perfidious Albion. That phrase originated in French and it is in the European Community that, as we approach the Strasbourg summit, British isolation is seen at its starkest. No wonder Commissioner Andriessen has been hinting this week that Britain might consider accepting membership of a lower, semi-detached tier of the Community.

It is about time that the United Kingdom Government made up their mind about their role within the Community. The Prime Minister tries to imply that the

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choice is between Britain going it alone and hindering every development or Britain merging its identity and abandoning its history in a processed-cheese Community. Pretending that they are the alternatives and that she must adopt the first to prevent the second, the Prime Minister, in a series of manic tantrums, blocks everything that she can lay her hands on from health labelling of cigarette packets to pensioners' rights and the social charter. If the Prime Minister did not like the Single European Act, she could have refused to enact it in the House, but she forced it through on a guillotine and she must accept the consequences.

Mr. Spearing : Does my right hon. Friend recall that at the Milan summit the Prime Minister said that she did not want a treaty? Does not her forcing through that treaty show that even a strong Government such as hers had to take the best terms that they could negotiate and force them through an unwilling House?

Mr. Kaufman : The Prime Minister certainly forced the treaty through an unwilling House. We were in a predicament partly because the Prime Minister, instead of using our place in the Community, has consistently isolated herself within the Community and cannot win any genuine concessions.

Mr. Hurd : I am trying to follow the right hon. Gentleman's argument. He seems to have moved rapidly from complaining that the Prime Minister accepts nothing and obstructs everything in Europe to complaining that she accepted the Single European Act and thrust it down his throat. I do not quite see the logic of his argument, but of course it comes from the right hon. Gentleman, who is a distinguished representative of a party that has spent most of the recent decade not only throwing stones at the European Community, but seeking to extricate Britain from it.

Mr. Kaufman : Ever since he worked for the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Mr. Heath)--a past which he has lived down adequately-- the Foreign Secretary has taken a clear, firm position on the Community. It is unacceptable for the Prime Minister--if the words were permitted in the House I would say hypocritical--first to force through a measure on a guillotine and then to make a speech at Bruges repudiating what she forced through the House. [Interruption.] Oh, yes, I have read the speech. I have a framed copy of it in my office. It is interesting to note that when he was given the opportunity on television the Foreign Secretary repudiated parts of the Bruges speech and said that he would not have made it in the way the Prime Minister made it.

The Labour party says that the Single European Act is now British law. Since that is the law and the context within which we must work, we want to do so as willing, active, co-operative partners. We want to use British initiative instead of being an isolated, semi-detached member of the Community which other Community members shrink from dealing with because of ill temper and destructive negativism. The Labour party believes in a community of sovereign states working together in the interests of each and in the interests of all. We believe in co-operating together to

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work with non-Community countries in Europe and in the wider world. Such a role means not simply waiting to react negatively to what others propose but playing a positive role, with intiatives of our own.

If the Foreign Secretary really means what he said on Devon radio about having ideas of his own, he must stop the Prime Minister rampaging from meeting to meeting, wrecking positive developments and making the United Kingdom the pariah of the Community. Never was a positive role for the Community more essential than its response to the dramatic developments in eastern Europe. While I was watching television the other day I thought that I detected that feeling in the Foreign Secretary as he sat quizzically sucking his spectacles while the Prime Minister raved on in yet another of her increasingly vain attempts to Inghamise the world's press.

Both the Foreign Secretary and I have visited the Berlin wall in recent days. I am sure that for him, as for me, the experience of being at the Brandenburg gate was unforgettable and uplifting. The right hon. Gentleman must have wriggled with discomfort as the Prime Minister sought to make narrow domestic political capital out of a human drama that will take its place in 20th century history. In his recent "Panorama" interview, the Foreign Secretary very sensibly said :

"Do you think in the streets of Leipzig, do you think in the streets of Prague they're thinking about the exchange rate mechanism. Of course they're not."

I wish that after making that balanced remark he could have stopped the Prime Minister pursuing precisely that absolute train of thought when, in her Guildhall speech, she tried to use the marvellous developments in eastern Europe as an argument against going into the exchange rate mechanism.

The Prime Minister has had to admit that Thatcherism has been rejected throughout democratic Europe--she told Brian Walden that she could consider entering the exchange rate mechanism only when the rest of the Community had adopted Thatcherite policies, and it was lamentably clear, from her point of view, that none of them had. But she has somehow got it into her head that eastern Europe is crying out for the poll tax, water privatisation, higher mortgages and the destruction of social services. At the Conservative party conference she--or perhaps it was Ronald Millar ghosting for her--proclaimed with lunatic conviction :

"the torch we lit in Britain, which transformed our country--the torch of freedom that is now the symbol of our Party--became a beacon that has shed its light across the Iron Curtain into the East." I must break the news to the Prime Minister that they are not knocking down the Berlin wall just to please her.

I was given this piece of the wall, Madam Deputy Speaker, in Berlin.

Mr. Hurd : I have a piece, too.

Mr. Kaufman : I have two pieces. This piece of the Berlin wall is a symbol of the rejection by the people of East Germany and all eastern Europe of every kind of soulless extremism, of oppressive Communist statism and of its mirror image : the heartless and uncaring society which is Thatcherism. That demolished wall is a symbol that the people of eastern Europe--Poland, Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria and now Czechoslovakia--are demanding freedom of choice in a caring society.

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I can provide evidence for that conclusion. Next week Lech Walesa, the leader of Solidarity, will visit London. He will be here as a guest of the Trades Union Congress, that same organisation whose constituent members the Queen's Speech promises to shackle even further. The Foreign Secretary will be giving a lunch for Mr. Walesa. To prevent him from dropping any bricks, I recommend that he should study the reports of my meeting with Mr. Walesa in Gdansk last month. A full record is available to the Foreign Secretary, since I invited to my meeting a British embassy official.

Far from being anamoured of Thatcherism, Mr. Walesa spoke to me of what he called the other "Mrs. Thatcher"--the "Mrs. Hyde Thatcher" who is so well known to us here. Mr. Walesa told me :

"We cannot transfer your system here. We don't like human and legal aspects of your system."

He told me that he preferred what he called the "very positive" ideals of western Socialism, such as welfare and social justice. It was those ideals that Mr. Walesa addressed when he spoke to both houses of Congress in Washington last week. He rightly called for economic aid to the emerging democracies of Eastern Europe and continued :

"We believe that assistance extended to democracy and freedom in Poland and all of Eastern Europe is the best investment in the future and in peace, better than tanks, warships and warplanes."

How right Mr. Walesa was, but unfortunately the Prime Minister does not see matters that way at all. She seems to have some inkling of what the developments in eastern Europe mean for the citizens of east European countries, though somewhere in her thinking there seems to be the conviction that Hungarians are planning to buy shares in Magyar Telecom so that they, too, can dial the time sponsored by Accurist.

What the Prime Minister clearly fails completely to understand is the significance of the developments in eastern Europe for us in Britain, in the West and in NATO. This morning the Foreign Secretary has shown that he understands the significance of those developments. He said that it would be hard now to recreate the iron curtain. Mr. Cheney, the United States Secretary of Defence, understands that well enough, too. This week he rightly said :

"It is clear that the likelihood of all-out conflict between NATO and the Warsaw Pact is lower now than at any time since the end of the second world war."

Mr. Cheney is following the logic of that assessment by recommending what he calls "significant cuts" in United States defence spending. He said :

"If you've got a situation in which Eastern Europe is now governed by democratically elected, non-Communist regimes, even though they are still in the Warsaw Pact, the Warsaw Pact is a very different animal It doesn't make a lot of sense to spend a lot of time worrying about the Polish army or the East German army actively participating in an attack against Western Europe."

Mr. Cheney talks about a CFE-2--a follow-on to the current Vienna arms reduction talks. Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the West German Foreign Minister, clearly understands the implications of what is happening. Earlier this week he was in Washington meeting President Bush. It is a telling indicator of Britain's reduced standing in NATO that these days the West German Foreign Minister gets to see the President of the United States earlier than the British Prime Minister. Officials travelling with Mr.

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Genscher gave on-the-record briefings to the press on their attitude towards modernisation of short-range nuclear weapons. They said--it has been recorded in The Times, The Independent, The Guardian and elsewhere--

Mr. Edward Leigh (Gainsborough and Horncastle) : The right hon. Gentleman should speak for himself.

Mr. Kaufman : I spend a great deal of time speaking for myself. However, when I can draw upon wisdom that agrees with me, I am always ready to do so.

One of Mr. Genscher's senior officials told the press : "The idea of the missiles being modernised makes us laugh' I don't think there is any possibility of it being implemented What do we need these missiles for--to bomb Lech Walesa? We don't even want a formal funeral for the issue."

Mr. Leigh : Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Kaufman : No, not to the hon. Gentleman.

Lord Carrington, a former Secretary of State for Defence, Foreign Secretary and until recently the Secretary General of NATO, said the same thing in a television interview this week. I hope that the hon. Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle (Mr. Leigh) will not wish to repudiate the words of someone who served with such distinction in Conservative Governments for so many years. Lord Carrington said : "I would have thought there is no conceivable situation now in which short-range nuclear weapons which land on East German soil would be acceptable. That chapter is I think over."

Every sane and sensible person now takes that view. Unfortunately, such a definition excludes the Prime Minister.

Mr. Genscher's officials told the press that they believed that all West Germany's European NATO partners except Britain now shared that view. That isolation has persisted for many months. At the time of the NATO summit, the Danish Prime Minister said :

"Except for Mrs. Thatcher everyone around this table here is in agreement that at some time there will have to be negotiations with the Warsaw Pact about short-range nuclear weapons."

Earlier this year, on the issue of modernisation, the Prime Minister said in an interview on TV-am that she would

"put the argument to him"--

Chancellor Kohl--again and again in favour of modernisation of short-range nuclear missiles.

Will the Foreign Secretary go on putting the argument to the West Germans in favour of modernisation of short-range nuclear weapons? [Interruption.] When the Foreign Secretary was responding to my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) he spoke about dealing with the negotiations at Vienna on short-range nuclear weapons. That is a matter for negotiation in the CFE talks. However, this is a different issue and not a matter for negotiation. It is to be decided by NATO and it is an issue on which the right hon. Gentleman, as Foreign Secretary, must have a view. I am referring to the modernisation of short- range nuclear weapons. What is the right hon. Gentleman's attitude now towards the modernisation of short-range nuclear weapons? Will he tell us? If he will, I will gladly give way so that he can explain.

Mr. Hurd : The right hon. Gentleman is mistaken. The right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) asked me

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precisely about modernisation. I replied by rehearsing something about which the right hon. Member for Leeds, East knows but evidently not the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman). I spoke about the comprehensive concept worked out by all the NATO allies earlier this year. In rehearsing that I said that I thought it was apt for the present occasion.

Mr. Kaufman : The right hon. Gentleman will not give a reply. He resorts to a six-month-old formula which, as Mr. Genscher, Mr. Cheney and Lord Carrington acknowledge, has been superseded by the developments in eastern Europe. The Foreign Secretary can tell Devon radio that he is his own man, but he dare not say what he thinks on this issue because he is afraid that the Prime Minister will think something different. He is chained to the reactionary, irrelevant and isolated opinions of an outdated and obsolete Prime Minister. We in the Labour party agree with the other European members of NATO that modernisation should not go ahead. We agree that there should be negotiations to remove short-range nuclear weapons from Europe--the third zero. We welcome what unmistakably follows from what is stated by Mr. Genscher and Lord Carrington--no to modernisation and yes to negotiation. That would mean a Europe cleared, by negotiation, of land- based nuclear weapons with the Soviets giving up 14 times as many of those weapons as NATO.

The Labour party accepts the implication of that development--the end of the flexible response strategy --which NATO adopted at a time of heavy Warsaw pact preponderance of conventional weapons. If flexible response ever had any validity, it is now made obsolete by the prospects of success at the Vienna talks of which both the United States and Soviet Governments are confident. In Washington this week Mr. Genscher said :

"Arms control (in Europe) needs a new dynamism so it does not lag behind political developments."

That is the positive and sensible voice of the new era in Europe. It says that we should proceed rationally to negotiate

disarmament--nuclear and conventional--between NATO and the Warsaw pact, as the United States and the Soviet Union are now doing so commendably and hopefully.

Britain must be properly defended. That means armed forces sufficient to our needs and responsibilities. It also means taking advantage of the new climate in world affairs to advance the best defence of all--the negotiated and asymmetrical reduction of arms levels between NATO and the Warsaw pact. All of us in the West and East can use our resources more fruitfully than piling up arms to destroy each other. We can use those resources to increase standards of social provision at home, to assist the emerging democracies of eastern Europe and to help the starving nations of the Third world. The rest of NATO seems ready for that new and optimistic perspective. Only Thatcherite Britain lags behind and seeks to block progress. A Labour Government will join the rest of our allies in working for collective defence, collective arms control and collective disarmament. It is time for Britain to join step once again with the rest of our Alliance and with a Europe on the move. A general election and a Labour Government will ensure that Britain counts again in the world.

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