HC Deb 26 November 1964 vol 702 cc1465-7
Q5. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Prime Minister if he will state his policy on the supply of arms to the Portuguese-controlled territories in Africa.

The Prime Minister

Her Majesty's Government do not propose to permit the supply of arms to Portugal for use in her overseas territories.

Mr. Hamilton

Can my right hon. Friend say whether arms have been supplied to Portuguese African territories in the past, and what was the extent of such supplies, and can he also say whether there are existing contracts which he is now ending as a result of the Answer that he has just given?

The Prime Minister

In 1961 the then Prime Minister said: In deciding whether to negotiate a sale or to grant a licence for the export of military equipment to Portugal, we have to consider her reasonable military requirements as a N.A.T.O. ally. But supplies of equipment to Portuguese overseas territories are in a different category and applications in these cases are for the time being in suspense."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th June, 1961; Vol. 643, c. 19.] On 31st July, 1963, Sir Patrick Dean at the United Nations, presumably on the instructions of the then Government, said: We do not supply arms to Portugal for use in its overseas territories, and we shall not do so. Therefore, there is no question of any unfulfilled contract.

Mr. Longden

In order to eliminate the present uncertainty among exporters and, above all, to avoid double standards, would the right hon. Gentleman consider issuing a code of conduct to which foreign Governments must conform if they wish Her Majesty's Government to consider them fit and proper persons for the export of British arms?

The Prime Minister

I think that the double standard code of conduct applied in respect of a Government who refused arms to Portugal in respect of her overseas territories but allowed arms to South Africa. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer the question."] I am giving my answer in my own way, if hon. Gentlemen will listen. Since there was that double standard code of conduct, the decisions of Her Majesty's present Government remove that standard of dual approach.

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