HC Deb 29 January 1962 vol 652 cc697-8
13. Mr. D. Foot

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether Her Majesty's Government will now communicate with the Government of Portugal with a view to the termination of the Anglo-Portuguese alliance.

14. Mr. Parker

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will now give notice to terminate the British alliance with Portugal.

Mr. Heath

I have nothing to add to my answer to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Fife, West (Mr. W. Hamilton) on the 24th January.

Mr. D. Foot

In reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. W. Hamilton), did not the right hon. Gentleman say that the Treaty of 1661 was superseded by the arrangement of 1889, the terms of which specifically repeat the undertaking in the Treaty …to defend and protect all the conquests or colonies belonging to the Crown of Portugal against all his enemies"? Do Her Majesty's Government regard that arrangement as being still in force? If so, does it cover Angola and Mozambique?

Mr. Heath

The Treaty is, of course, still in force, but, as has been made perfectly plain publicly and in this House, an explanation was given to the Portuguese Ambassador about our views on recent events. It was also made clear that responsibility lies upon a Government affected to call for a treaty to be invoked if they so desire.

Mr. Parker

What is the value of the treaty to Portugal, considering that Her Majesty's Government have no intention of applying it to her colonies?

Mr. Heath

Without accepting the implications in the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, this matter goes wider than the question only of colonies.

Sir A. V. Harvey

While deprecating Portugal's actions in Angola—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"]—I ask my right hon. Friend to bear in mind that Portugal, in making bases in the Azores available to the allies during the last war, saved thousands of British lives. Will he take that into account?

Mr. Strachey

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it would be much mare dignified to terminate this treaty, which is completely null and void in action and the existence of which obviously brings us into conflict with important members of the Commonwealth? Would it not be very much better to face the facts and see that this treaty is terminated?

Mr. Heath

No, Sir. I cannot accept the right hon. Gentleman's view. As far as our relationship with the Commonwealth is concerned, we have explained our views about Portuguese colonial policy on a number of occasions. It is fully understood. We have also explained the relationship of the treaty to our actions in the Commonwealth.