HC Deb 13 December 1937 vol 330 cc789-90
5. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware of the statement published in the entire government-controlled Italian Press that His Majesty's Government intend to annex the Azores Islands, now Portuguese territory; and whether, in view of the continuous anti-British propaganda carried on from Italian officially-controlled sources, he will invite the Italian Government to state whether or not they intend to conform to the terms of the joint declaration of January, 1937?

Mr. Eden

I am aware of the publication in the Italian Press of the statement to which the hon. Member refers. I am confident that it will be everywhere appreciated that no significance need be attached to fantastic statements of this kind, which are, of course, entirely devoid of foundation.

Mr. Henderson

In view of the fact that one of the terms of the joint declaration of January was to the effect that the Italian Government would discourage any activities likely to impair good relations with this country, does the right hon. Gentleman consider that this kind of continuous propaganda fulfils the terms of the undertaking?

Mr. Eden

I am dealing now with a specific case and, as I have said to the hon. Gentleman, in my view fabrications of this kind do most harm to the people who use them.

Mr. Petherick

Will my right hon. Friend take steps to see that this statement receives the widest possible circulation in Portugal where these allegations are calculated to do a great deal of harm?

Mr. Eden

I am sure the Portuguese Government give no more credit to them than we do ourselves.

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