Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, I was asked on Friday about a second letter sent by Mr. Bulganin, the chairman of the council of ministers of the Soviet union. I informed the house that such a letter had been delivered to me by the Soviet ambassador that morning. With it the Soviet ambassador delivered what might be described as an unofficial translation. This translation has been checked against the Russian language original and revisions made where necessary. I am now able to table that approved English translation of the letter.
This new letter from Mr. Bulganin is being studied with care. Similar letters have been received by the governments of other NATO countries, and they will be the subject of further careful examination and consultation in the NATO council. The main proposal in this new letter is that a high-level meeting be held in the next two or three months. The specific proposal, and I quote, is for:
-a meeting of leading statesmen on a high level with the participation of heads of governments.
The agenda proposed for this meeting largely covers the same ground as the proposal made in the previous letter from Mr. Bulganin dated December 13, 1957. On one or two points relating to disarmament this letter is somewhat more specific than the previous letter, and these points are now being studied. They do not, however, appear to contain anything that has not been brought up in the discussions held in the United Nations subcommittee on disarmament.
I believe it is the intention of some of our NATO allies to send replies to the first letter early this week. The Canadian reply which is now being prepared after careful coordination of our views with our NATO partners will be sent in a day or so, and the text will be made available to the house. I therefore ask leave to table the letter in question.
Subtopic: TABLING OF SECOND LETTER FROM PREMIER BULGANIN