HC Deb 25 April 1966 vol 727 cc341-3
22. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps he is taking to improve relations with Portugal.

Mr. George Thomson

Her Majesty's Government wish to maintain good rela- tions with the Portuguese Government. We are continuing to co-operate with them in the normal way.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Government's relations with Portugal have gravely deteriorated owing to the Rhodesian sanctions and the timing of the Government's resort to the Security Council? Is not this highly dangerous not only for British trade but to the Western Alliance? What do the Government propose to do to improve the alliance with Portugal?

Mr. Thomson

Her Majesty's Government are doing everything possible to prevent any deterioration in Anglo-Portuguese relations. The hon. Member will know that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs himself visited Lisbon from 6th to 8th April and had three meetings with the Portuguese Foreign Secretary. My right hon. Friend has also seen the Portuguese Ambassador in London on a number of occasions, and we have made every contact to secure a proper understanding of our policies as they affect both Rhodesia and Portugal.

Mr. O'Malley

Will my right hon. Friend impress on the Portuguese authorities the substantial advantages to Mozambique of an early ending of the illegal régime of Southern Rhodesia?

Mr. Thomson

Yes, Sir. We believe that it is in the interests of all concerned in Southern Africa to see a restoration of constitutional law in Rhodesia.

Sir J. Rodgers

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when his hon. Friend visited the Portuguese Government to try to impress on them the necessity for a sanctions policy without recourse to the United Nations, while he was in communication with them the Government were raising this issue at the United Nations? Is that the way in which to improve relations?

Mr. Thomson

I do not accept the hon. Member's description of events. If the Portuguese Government had agreed as a result of our representations to prevent the "Ioanna" docking in Beira, there would have been no need for any approach to the United Nations Security Council. As it was, the approach had to be made in emergency conditions as a matter of urgency and ought to have been made under these conditions. Her Majesty's Embassy in Lisbon was informed by telephone at the earliest possible moment.

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