HC Deb 12 July 1961 vol 644 cc384-5
28. Mr. Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for War what was the subject of the recent negotiations in London between General Pina, chief of staff of the Portuguese army, and representatives of Her Majesty's Government.

The Secretary of State for War (Mr. John Profumo)

I have nothing to add to my Answer to the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) on 27th June.

Mr. Brockway

My hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) showed me that Answer. In that Answer, the Secretary of State stated that there were discussions about N.A.T.O. problems. Can the right hon. Gentleman solve a problem which is puzzling many of us: how will it be possible to provide Portugal with arms restricted to N.A.T.O. purposes and not to be used in Portugal's overseas territories? How is it possible?

Mr. Profumo

If I may stick to the Question on the Order Paper, there were no discussions about arms—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—there were no discussions about arms during this visit, and no inquiries were made of my Department then, nor have any been made since.

Mr. Mayhew

Why not? Surely, this is precisely the moment to make some effort to see that these arms do not go to Angola.

Mr. Profumo

I said that there was no discussion. General Pina, whose visit is the subject of this Question, did not enter into any discussions about arms, and there have been no inquiries of my Department about arms, either then or since.

Mr. Awbery

In view of the grave situation in Angola, and the feeling expressed in this House in last week's debate, did the right hon. Gentleman discuss the position in Angola with General Pina, and ask him to take up the matter with his Government with a view to Portugal desisting from the atrocities there?

Mr. Profumo

Discussions of this sort are, and should remain, confidential.

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