HC Deb 19 June 1958 vol 589 cc1308-10
47. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Prime Minister whether the speech of the President of the Board of Trade broadcast by Madrid Radio on 11th June represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Stonehouse

Is the Prime Minister aware that in his broadcast over Madrid Radio the President of the Board of Trade implied that Spain was part of the free world? Does the Prime Minister believe that Spain is part of the free world, and does he want Britain to follow the example of the United States in establishing more direct defence arrangements with Spain?

The Prime Minister

The second part of that question does not arise. Spain is, at any rate, part of the non-Communist world.

Mr. Gaitskell

Is the Prime Minister aware that in his radio speech the President of the Board of Trade went much further than that and, according to The Times report, described Spain and Britain as follows: Both shared Europe's history and the present dangers that threatened the free world. Wherever two countries in the free world could expand their trade, they were helping to raise the standards of life in all countries"? Is it either wise or sensible to describe a Fascist State as part of the free world?

The Prime Minister

I should have thought that all the propositions put forward were true, certainly about our common history and our European tradition and being non-Communist. If the speech as a whole is considered, there is nothing of which there can possibly be complaint.

Mr. Gaitskell

Does not the Prime Minister appreciate that if the phrase "the free world", which is commonly used by different members of N.A.T.O., is taken to include Fascist countries, it enormously weakens any political significance of N.A.T.O.?

The Prime Minister

The speech must be taken as a whole, and taken as a whole it is a sensible speech.

Mr. Doughty

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that it is entirely correct, as the President of the Board of Trade said over Madrid Radio, that Spain has been taking an active part in defending the free world against Communism?

Mr. S. Silverman

Are we to infer from the right hon. Gentleman's answer—which is very similar to an answer given by the President of the Board of Trade to a similar question put a little while ago—that Her Majesty's Government at this moment are prepared to support and defend any kind of tyranny or oppression in the world so long as it is non-Communist?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. What the President of the Board of Trade was chiefly taken up with in his speech was the extension of trade, and I understood it to be the point of view of the hon. Member below the Gangway that trade should be extended in all directions.