§ 7 Mr. Benn
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) to what extent Her Majesty's Government are committed to the maintenance of Portuguese sovereignty over Goa;
(2) to what extent Her Majesty's Government are now committed to the maintenance of Portuguese sovereignty over her colonies;
(3) which treaties between the United Kingdom and Portugal are now in force; and whether all other engagements between the two countries have now been published.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
The principal bilateral treaties of alliance between this country and Portugal are those of 1373, 1386, 1642, 1654, 1660, 1661 and 1703, reinforced by the Declaration of 1899. These have all been published in volumes of the State Papers, and there are no engagements of this kind which have not been published. There is, in addition, a considerable number of other bilateral agreements on a wide variety of subjects, including a commercial treaty, but I assume the hon. Member is not referring to these.
As regards the application of the treaties to particular territories and particular circumstances, it would be for the party invoking the treaties to establish a casus foederis.
§ Mr. Benn
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman not willing to tell the House to what extent Britain is committed to the maintenance of Portuguese sovereignty over Goa and other colonies in view of the fact that Dr. Salazar has repeatedly claimed that these treaties bind the British Government to the maintenance of this sovereignty, and that he claims this not only through the Treaty but through the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation? Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman not aware of the effect that that evasive answer will have upon world public opinion when a straight question is put to him?
§ Mr. Lloyd
I do not understand the hon. Member's supplementary question. He has referred, for example, to the case of Goa. I am not aware that any armed attack is contemplated against Goa. If the hon. Gentleman studies my answer carefully, he will realise that it is a wise one to make in the circumstances.