HC Deb 15 February 1956 vol 548 cc2352-3
39. Mr. E. Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what assurances were obtained from the Spanish Government that they would observe the clauses in the Charter regarding religious freedom before Her Majesty's Government supported the admission of Spain to the United Nations.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

There is no article in the Charter of the United Nations which would require Her Majesty's Government to obtain any such assurance from the Spanish Government.

Mr. Fletcher

Is the Minister aware that the latest example of religious persecution in Spain is the forcible closing of the Protestant Theological Seminary in Madrid, and is the Minister making no protest about the matter?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

I am aware of that. Of course, there are no direct British interests involved in that and therefore we have no locus standi for making a protest. In the past Her Majesty's Ambassador has made representations to the Spanish Government, who are fully aware already of how deeply we deplore religious discrimination and persecution, wherever it may occur.

Mr. G. Thomas

In view of the fact that this is not the first time that there has been religious persecution in Spain——

Mr. Stokes

Or in England.

Mr. Thomas

We are dealing with Spain at the moment—is it not unfortunate that the Spanish Government were not notified that our support for their application for admission to the United Nations would depend upon them behaving as decent human beings?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

No, Sir. If the hon. Member will look at my original Answer, he will see the reply to that.