HC Deb 01 June 1961 vol 641 cc409-11
26. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why a visa was refused to Captain Galvao.

29. Mr. Harold Davies

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state why, when Captain Galvao was invited to visit Great Britain, he was refused a visa by the British Consul in Sao Paulo.

Mr. Renton

My right hon. Friend decided, after consultation with my noble Friend the Foreign Secretary, that it would be undesirable to allow Captain Galvao to visit this country.

Mr. Stonehouse

Why is the traditional policy of allowing free entry to political refugees being changed in this case? Why did the Home Secretary allow General Delgado in while keeping his associate Captain Galvao out?

Mr. Renton

There is no question of a change in our traditional policy in this case, but I should tell the House that it has never been our tradition to allow foreigners to come here to advocate insurrection against our allies, which is what Captain Galvao apparently wishes to do.

Sir P. Agnew

Does not the refusal of a visa to this man to land here in fact constitute an act of mercy, because, if he had been able to come into the country, Her Majesty's Government, in discharge of their international obligations, would have had to arrest him on a charge of murder on the High Seas?

Mr. Renton

There is indeed an extradition treaty between this country and Portugal.

Mr. Harold Davies

Is the Minister aware that he has not yet given the reasons why a visa was refused to Captain Galvao? Is he further aware that Captain Galvao held a high position under Dr. Salazar, and that because of his courage in exposing the criminal conduct of the colonial system in Angola he lost his post? Even the Argentine Embassy gave him asylum in Portugal, and Brazil has done the same. Why has this country fallen behind on what it did for Garibaldi many years ago?

Mr. Renton

We can only judge his future intentions—that is, what he would do if he came here—by his recent activities, and I would remind the House that in the recent episode of the seizing of the "Santa Maria" by the armed group which he led there was a loss of life and wounding of the members of the crew who were unarmed and engaged in their lawful duties. We are also entitled to bear in mind the circumstances in which he wishes to come, namely, the fact that he wishes to give lectures, and by whom those lectures are sponsored.

Mr. S. Silverman

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman explain constitutionally exactly what the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has to do with this matter? Is not the discretion whether visas should be granted or not granted the personal discretion of the Home Secretary? Further, may I point out that, if it were really the case that we never grant a visa to any alien who has been engaged in insurrection against his Government, not a single Hungarian refugee could have come here in the last four years?

Mr. Renton

That supplementary question raises a number of questions, but I think that the principal ones to answer are these. First, it is true that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has a discretion for the issue of visas, but when the issue of a visa might affect relations with a friendly foreign Power, it is right that be should consult my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Gordon Walker

May we be told what this gentleman intends to do which Garibaldi was not allowed to do in previous days in this country, or indeed many refugees from Hitler?

Mr. Renton

I think that the right hon. Gentleman's recollection of history will tell him that there is a considerable difference between the Portugal of today, which is a member of N.A.T.O., and the Italy of Garibaldi's time.

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

Order. We must get on with Questions.

Mr. Stonehouse

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible opportunity.