HC Deb 19 June 1958 vol 589 cc1295-6
21. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the results of his recent visit to Spain.

Sir D. Eccles

We are Spain's best customer, and the Spaniards are only prevented from buying more British goods by their shortage of foreign exchange. I discussed the possibilities of increasing trade in both directions. In particular, I stressed the advantages for Spain in moving closer to the multilateral system of European trade, and I believe that the Spanish Government appreciated the argument.

Mr. Stonehouse

May I ask the Minister two questions arising out of that reply? First, to what extent is it proposed to extend credits to Spain? Secondly, in his discussions with General Franco, did the Minister discuss defence questions, and why did he imply on Madrid Radio that Spain was part of the free world?

Sir D. Eccles

Credit did not come into the discussions. There is no question of any special credit. The Export Credits Guarantee Department insurance cover has been available for Spain and will continue to be available in the same terms. I did not discuss defence. On the last question, Spain certainly is not part of the Communist world and, therefore, is part of the free world.

Mr. Jay

Could the President of the Board of Trade tell us what he did say on Madrid Radio?

Sir D. Eccles

I should be very pleased to send the right hon. Gentleman a copy if he wants weekend reading.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Are we to take it that the President's conception of freedom is the régime that exists in Spain?

Sir D. Eccles

I did not go there for a political purpose. I went there to discuss trade.

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