HC Deb 28 May 1968 vol 765 cc1534-5
Q7. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Prime Minister whether he will invite the head of the Spanish Government to London for discussions.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir.

Mr. Wyatt

As the ordinary diplomatic channels have been singularly ineffective in persuading General Franco that we do not propose to hand Gibraltar over to him, would it not be a good idea to tell the dictator to his face that we will not do it and that he runs the risk of losing a great deal of valuable travel trade if he does not shut up about Gibraltar?

The Prime Minister

Without entering into the particular form of diplomatic language used by my hon. Friend, I would have thought that as a result of the statements made by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, and his predecessor, to their opposite number in Madrid, and also after all the other contacts who have been in successive negotiations, the Spanish Government should be in no doubt at all about the position.

Mr. Biggs-Davidson

Does the Prime Minister think that it would be a good idea to set the Head of the Spanish Government a good example in Parliamentary Government?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. The hon. Gentleman's inability to distinguish between democracy in this country and what happens in other countries, including his favourite, Rhodesia, is one reason why his contributions are never taken seriously.

Mr. Molloy

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that Answer, may I ask him to make no overtures to the Head of the Spanish Government, as opposed to the ordinary people of Spain, which might be interpreted as a weakness as regards this country's attitude towards Spain and Gibraltar?

The Prime Minister

The statement by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and his predecessor on this matter, particularly the statements since the closing of the border post on the frontier a week ago, should leave the Spanish Government and everyone else concerned in no doubt about our resolve in this matter.