Mr. Khrushchev, in his letters to West European Socialist parties about the "threatening" Middle Est?
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Background: Mr. Khrushchev, in his letters to West European Socialist parties about the "threatening" Middle Est situation, has, it appears, invited only the British Labour Party to meet him. To the seven other parties, he made varying proposals for joint action with the Communists, but offered them no invitations to meetings.
The parties are those of West Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway and Italy. The motives for singling out the British party for the dubious distinction of travelling to Moscow was the subject of much speculation when the the members of the Bureau (the inner council) of the Socialist International met in Strasbourg on Sunday, October 20.
The purpose of the bureau's visit, arranged three months age, was to meet the Socialist groups of the consultative assembley of the Council of Europe and in the Common Assembly of European Coal and Steel Assembley and discuss their work. The Khrushchev affair was not on the agenda.
But the members of the Bureau seized the opportunity of having a long informal meeting at the breakfast table to consider common action in response to the Soviet moves. In the main there was general agreement about their attitude towards the Khruschev proposals.
It was an exceedingly cold one. Although it was agreed that the parties should act independently and not through the Socialist International the result will be the same as though they had formally decided on joint action.
The Socialist leaders agreed that all the multiple approaches from Mr. Khrushchev flouted normal diplomatic custom, that "threatening" developments should be handled by the United Nations, and that the Russians were in any case seeking to disguise their own dangerous activities.
Disappointment was felt that the British Labour Party had not been able to send a senior representative. Most of the other parties had sent their most senior representatives including Herr Ollenhauer, leader of the Socialists in the West German Parliament.
Meeting in the Council of Europe building, the delegates heard and discussed a report by Germany's Fritz Erler on "European Institutions and the Socialist International".
Presidents, from left to right: Pierre-Olivier, Lapaie, Edwards, Alsing, Anderson, Close-ups of Carlo Schmidt, Ollenhauer.