HC Deb 17 May 1971 vol 817 cc878-9
27. Mr. Judd

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on the purpose of his forthcoming official visit to Portugal.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

The Portuguese Government invited me to pay a short official visit to Lisbon on 1st and 2nd June, since I shall be attending the ministerial meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Lisbon on 3rd and 4th June. I welcomed this opportunity to exchange views with the Portuguese Foreign Minister.

Mr. Judd

The House will appreciate that the right hon. and learned Gentleman condones neither the suppression of human rights within Portugal nor the repression of people in her overseas territories, but will he take up with the Portuguese Government the degree of feeling in this country on both these scores and discuss with them the concern in this country about the possible abuse of Portugal's membership of N.A.T.O. in the conduct of her overseas wars?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

We have no evidence whatever of any abuse by Portugal of her obligations to N.A.T.O. as a result of her overseas policies in Africa. The substance of the discussions with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Portugal must be confidential.

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon

Will the Foreign Secretary take the opportunity of pressing upon the Portuguese Government the feelings, not only in this country, but in the rest of the world, about Portugal's continued occupation of her colonies and, in so doing, give the kind of lead that Mr. Harold Macmillan gave in South Africa in the "wind of change" speech.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

Our colonial policy and the colonial policy of the Portuguese Government have differed and are different. This is a matter for the Portuguese Government in which I would not interfere. I shall, of course, discuss these matters with the Minister.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Do we not have something to learn from Portugal in the matter of good race relations?