HC Deb 24 November 1954 vol 533 cc1238-40
23. Mr. Ernest Davies

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make representations to the Spanish Government concerning the discrimination they are exercising against Gibraltar.

Sir Anthony Eden

The restrictions recently imposed by the Spanish authorities at the Gibraltar frontier are not, according to my information, discriminatory. They are, however, in the view of Her Majesty's Government, more rigorous than is customary between good neighbours.

Mr. Davies

But will the right hon. Gentleman consult the Secretary of State for the Colonies, who I understand received a deputation recently from Gibraltar, who drew attention to the considerable discrimination which has been exercised? For instance, Gibraltarians who visit Spain are finding great difficulty in returning to Gibraltar because obstacles are put in their way, whereas other British subjects coming in from Spain are not treated in that way?

Sir A. Eden

Yes, I have discussed this with my right hon. Friend. I think it would be true to say that the imposition of these restrictions raises doubts as to whether the Spanish Government seriously wish for those correct and friendly relations that we ourselves consider desirable.

Mr. Peyton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that even those of us who have no strong prejudices against the Spanish Government nevertheless feel that this line of policy is a disastrous one for Spain and for Gibraltar? Is he further aware that to continue negotiations on Anglo-Spanish trade, and to have large numbers of British tourists going to the Costa Brava year by year, seems a great anomaly when Gibraltar is being so wantonly strangled by this irresponsible action of the Spanish Government?

Sir A. Eden

I fully understand the feelings of my hon. Friend. It is true, I think, that these restrictions are causing probably even more inconvenience to the Spaniards than they are to Gibraltarians. However, I cannot entirely agree with the word "strangled." I must make it plain that it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to take care of Gibraltar and the Gibraltarians, whatever anybody else may try to do about it.

29. Mr. Russell

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to what extent restrictions are still imposed on British and Spanish subjects crossing the frontier between Gibraltar and Spain.

Sir Anthony Eden

The permanent passes formerly issued by the Spanish authorities to certain British subjects resident in the Campo area, which is the military district of Spain immediately adjoining Gibraltar, but not employed in Gibraltar, are not being renewed. British subjects resident in Gibraltar may now only visit Spain outside the Campo area if in possession of a British passport and of a valid Spanish visa, which must be obtained from the Spanish Consulate-General in London. Until last June frontier passes sufficed and were freely issued.

Spanish workers employed in Gibraltar are allowed to leave Spain on working days only. Previously they could do so on any day. I understand that other Spanish citizens are experiencing difficulty in obtaining the necessary documents to visit Gibraltar.