§ 6. Major Beamish
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the major points of difference between His Majesty's Government and the United States Government regarding the establishment of closer association between Spain and the members of the North Atlantic Pact; what reasons His Majesty's Government has most recently advanced to support their views on this matter; and if he will now take urgent steps to seek a common policy with the United States and other members of the North Atlantic Pact.
§ 9. Mr. Carmichael
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the nature of the representation made to His Majesty's Government to include Spain in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation; and what reply His Majesty's Government have made to this representation.
§ 13. Mrs. Castle
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what the policy of His Majesty's Government is in regard to participation of Spain in the defence of Western Europe.
§ 14. Mr. Donnelly
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the nature of the British representations to the United States Government regarding the proposed inclusion of Spain in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
§ 24. Mr. Nigel Fisher
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement in regard to the Government's policy towards the inclusion of Spain in negotiations for the defence of Western Europe.
§ Mr. Ernest Davies
I would refer hon. Members to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State on 23rd July. The policy of His Majesty's Government remains as stated by myself on 20th February.
It is the view of His Majesty's Government that the strategic advantages of establishing any closer association between Spain and the West are outweighed by the effects which such an association would have on the morale of the other members of the Western community. These views have been made known to the United States Government who, however, take the contrary view. There is no question at present of Spain's admission to the North Atlantic Treaty.
§ Mrs. Castle
Does not my hon. Friend agree that the negotiations at present going on between the United States and Spain for bilateral arrangements for the lease of military bases in Spain is contrary to the North Atlantic Treaty—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—contrary to the spirit of the North Atlantic Treaty? While I appreciate the reply which my hon. Friend has already given, will he give an assurance that he will press this very strongly upon the American Government?
§ Mr. Davies
As my hon. Friend is aware, and as has been stated here, we have explained our view fully to the United States Government. Their present objective is to conclude a bilateral arrangement to secure facilities in ports and airfields for the defence of the West, but they are not pressing for the inclusion of Spain in the North Atlantic Treaty.
§ Mr. Fisher
Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that in these dangerous times the strategic considerations should really take precedence over the political considerations? Would it not be more statesmanlike to create a new defensive association than to perpetuate an old ideological feud?
§ Mr. Davies
This is not a political question. It is a question as to which is the best way of defending the West at the present time. We have taken our view because of the bad effect on morale of bringing Spain in, and because we do not consider that strategically there would be advantages in bringing Spain in, certainly not until the west itself is fully armed.
§ Mr. Michael Foot
Is it not a fact that almost all the other countries in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation take the same view as the British Government on this subject? In the course of the British Government's representations to the United States Government, have we suggested that this matter should be discussed in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and that a majority vote should be taken there instead of United States acting unilaterally in offence against the other Powers with which she is associated in the alliance?
§ Mr. Davies
I could not agree that the United States has not the right to enter into discussions with Spain if she so wishes. Clearly, if there was a question of Spain coming into the North Atlantic Treaty it would have to be discussed and agreed to by all the members, but I do not see any justification for bringing it before the Atlantic Council at this stage in the present circumstances.
§ Major Beamish
If, as the hon. Gentleman has said, at the moment he sees no strategic advantages in a closer military understanding with Spain, is it not a fact that that view is wholly contrary to the view of the Chiefs of Staff in this country and America?
§ Mr. Davies
I cannot express the views of either Chiefs of Staff in the United States or the Chiefs of Staff in this country.
§ Mr. Eric Fletcher
Will my hon. Friend explain why he thinks that it would have a worse effect on British morale for America to have a treaty with Spain than for Britain to participate in German rearmament?
§ Brigadier Head
Does not the Under-Secretary think that if the views expressed by the hon. Member for Devonport (Mr. Foot) and others were accepted and present precautions in order to prepare anti-submarine facilities in Spain in the event of war were now neglected, it would mean that this country would starve in the event of war breaking out?
§ Mr. Sorensen
Does my hon. Friend accept the suggestion of an hon. Member opposite that the aversion on the part of many of us in this country to the tyrannous régime in Spain is due to an ideological dispute or feud?
§ Mr. Gammans
Will the Minister explain, for the enlightenment of our allies, why it is good for morale to help a Communist dictatorship in Yugoslavia and to refuse to have anything to do with a non-Communist dictatorship in Spain?
§ Mr. Davies
Because there is a very considerable difference between the Communist Government in Yugoslavia and the Franco Government in Spain. The Communist Government in Yugoslavia under Marshal Tito was an ally of ours during the war, which Franco was not.
§ Mr. Donnelly
On a point of order. I had down one of the Questions to which my hon. Friend has just replied. I understand that it is a tradition of the House that if one has down a Question which is answered one is entitled to put a supplementary question.
§ Mr. Speaker
I did not realise that Question No. 14 was among those answered. I shall allow the hon. Member to ask a supplementary question.
§ Mr. Donnelly
Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that the whole point about General Franco's régime is not that it is just an obnoxious régime, but that it represents the first military conquest of the Rome-Berlin Axis and that it is there 443 solely because of the efforts of Italian troops and German aircraft and munitions before the war?