Hon. Sidney E. Smith (Secretary of State for External Affairs):
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the copy of this question which he had sent to me. The resolution on an Atlantic congress and Atlantic high level citizens' conference adopted by the third annual NATO parliamentarians' conference, the so-called Kefauver resolution, was in two parts. The first instructed committees of the conference to make arrangements for convening an Atlantic congress in 1959 in connection with the tenth anniversary of the North Atlantic treaty. That resolution requested heads of government to support this proposal at the NATO meeting in December.
The second part recommended that all NATO governments should, in consultation with the standing and political committees of the NATO parliamentarians' conference, 96698-236
Inquiries of the Ministry bring about a conference in 1958 composed of leading representative citizens to examine how greater co-operation and unity of purpose among NATO countries can best be achieved.
It was not found possible, Mr. Speaker, in the time available to consider the first part of this resolution at the NATO summit meeting in December. However, I assume that my hon. friend has in mind the second part of the resolution which deals with the bringing about of a conference in 1958. I would interpolate here that as a result of the meeting of NATO heads of government last December, a course has been charted toward even greater co-operation among NATO members in not only the military but also the political, economic, cultural and technical fields. I am personally optimistic that this unity of purpose and mutual co-operation, which has reached a degree unprecedented among free nations, will be strengthened.
I can assure the hon. member that the recommendation of the NATO parliamentarians' -conference-that is the second part of the resolution-is being given careful thought, and we are also investigating what support for the convening of such a conference may be expected from our NATO partners at the meeting of the council to be held next March. It is, however, premature to say what action will be taken in the council in respect of this matter at that March meeting of the North Atlantic council.
Subtopic: EXTERNAL AFFAIRS