HC Deb 25 January 1954 vol 522 cc1450-1
27. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what representations have been received from the Spanish Government with regard to the forthcoming Royal visit to Gibraltar

28. Mr. Ernest Davies

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the representations made by the Spanish Government on the visit of Her Majesty the Queen to Gibraltar and the nature of his reply

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

The Spanish Ambassador called at his own request on my right hon. Friend on 12th January. He delivered what he described as a "friendly warning" that the visit of Her Majesty the Queen to Gibraltar in May would cause resentment in Spain.

My right hon. Friend informed the Ambassador that he was not prepared to discuss the Queen's visit to any one of Her territories and that in no circumstances could he accept a representation on such a topic from any foreign Power.

Mr. Henderson

Is the Minister aware that he will have the support of hon. Members on this side of the House in resisting any improper pressure of this nature which may be sought to be put upon Her Majesty's Government by the Spanish Government? In view of this so-called "friendly warning" from the Spanish Government, can he assure the House that proper steps will be taken to prevent hostile demonstrations, organised from Madrid, during the course of Her Majesty's visit to Gibraltar?

Mr. Lloyd

We should certainly take a serious view if any such demonstrations were organised.

Mr. Davies

Does not this visit of the Spanish Ambassador to the Foreign Secretary show the complete futility of the present policy towards Spain? This business of selling arms to Spain at this time is giving everything and receiving nothing whatever.

Mr. Lloyd

I do not agree. It is the purpose of the Government to improve the relations between the Spanish people and the people of this country. It is very unfortunate that the introduction of this question of Gibraltar has made things more difficult.

Mr. Patrick Maitland

Does not this show that diplomatic weakness at one end of the Mediterranean inevitably attracts insult and abuse at the other?