HC Deb 10 February 1937 vol 320 cc377-8
5. Mr. Day

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when the Treaty of Alliance with Portugal, which dates back to 1373, was last renewed; and in what circumstances would Great Britain be involved in supplying armed forces to Portugal under the present existing treaty?

Viscount Cranborne

The Treaty of 1373 and the later treaties of alliance between Great Britain and Portugal, were confirmed as a whole in 1899, and the preamble of the Arbitration Treaty with Portugal of 1904, known as the Treaty of Windsor, refers to the alliance subsisting between the two countries, thus recognising the validity of the old treaties. By the terms of these treaties His Majesty's Government undertake to defend and protect Portugal and the Portuguese colonial territory against aggression. I would, however, refer the hon. Member to the statement made regarding the interpretation of these treaties by my right hon. Friend in reply to a question asked by the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, East (Mr. Mander) on 11th November last.

Mr. Day

Do we understand that the obligations are limited?

Viscount Cranborne

Perhaps the hon. Member will read the reply to which I referred.

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

Can we rely on the assistance of Portugal in the event of this country being attacked?

Colonel Gretton

Do the British Government still regard these treaties in regard to the defence of Portugal and her Colonial possessions as binding on us?

Viscount Cranborne

Certainly the Treaty is still binding, but perhaps my hon. and gallant Friend will read the answer given by my right hon. Friend which is referred to, which makes the interpretation of the Treaty perfectly clear.

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