asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement with regard to his recent attendance at a meeting of Common Market Foreign Affairs Ministers at The Hague, outlining the major issues discussed.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Membership of EEC.
The meeting at The Hague on 20th and 21st November was the regular half-yearly meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs within the framework of European political co-operation. Detailed conclusions of these meetings are confidential but the main issues discussed were the attitudes the members would adopt during the preliminary talks in Helsinki for the European Conference on Security and Co-operation, the recent German treaty and the possibility of common action on the Middle East in the current United Nations General Assembly.
Could the Minister say whether, in fact, in the wake of the German elections and the change in the German question, any consideration has been given on our part to diplomatic recognition of Eastern Germany?
I have a question on that.
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether further contact with the political committee of the nine EEC countries will be maintained; whether Ireland has representation on the committee; and whether there is any agreed policy on the intensification of foreign policy contacts.
Ireland has been a member of the EEC Political Committee since April, 1972, and will continue to be so. The summit meeting in Paris in October decided that the committee's consultations should be intensified with four instead of two meetings per year at Foreign Minister level.
Have we any personnel, or does a full-time secretariat, attached to that committee, exist? Have we any personnel on that committee or does that secretariat exist?
The question of having a secretariat was raised, but has not been decided on.
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether, following the recent meeting of EEC Foreign Ministers, the Irish delegation in the United Nations will act in concert with other members of the Community in seeking United Nations membership for both East and West Germany; and whether diplomatic recognition of East Germany will precede this country's United Nations support.
The Irish Government will take into account the views of its partners in the Nine, and in particular that of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, in the timing of the admission of both Germanies to the United Nations and of recognition of East Germany. It is not clear whether these steps are practicable this year before the formal signing and ratification of the recently initialled treaty but we will keep in touch with our partners in Europe on this.
In other words, we propose to adopt the same approach as all of the other Community members in relation to the recognition of Eastern Germany so that informally we will be recognising East Germany?
It is difficult to make a statement about our intentions. Timing is important. We would be inclined to concern ourselves with what Western Germany would like to do. I understand that Chancellor Brandt will travel to East Germany to sign the treaty in December. It will possibly be submitted then to the Federal Parliament for ratification some time in the New Year. The earliest the application could be expected to come before the General Assembly would be September of next year, if the Security Council had by then agreed to the application. As I have said, we will decide our attitude towards recognition to East Germany in consultation with the eight other members of the EEC and especially with West Germany. I can foresee no action on this until the West Germans themselves have ratified it.
Since this is the first major foreign question following our entry to the EEC in which we appear to be taking on the principle of acting in concert with the other members—in other words, acting in concert with the other members who will be according recognition to East Germany—can we see this as anticipation of future changes in our foreign policy, based on the principle that we act in concert with our other partners? May we take it this is a forecast of our future action in foreign policy matters, that we will act in concert with other members of the Community?
The Deputy is assuming that the eight other members would be in concert first and that then we would be in concert with them. This is not a good assumption. There are certain matters on which concensus can be found and up to now this is what meetings have been seeking and achieving —where there is concensus, find it and so find areas of agreement. There has been no pressure on any country to change its individual stand. In this instance, as I have said, we are clear in what we would do. We would consult with our partners.