HC Deb 12 June 1972 vol 838 cc980-1
8. Mr. Luce

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response he has had, both in the United Kingdom and in the countries of Latin America, to the British Government's Seminar on Britain and Latin America.

The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Joseph Godber)

The response from British businessmen has been very encouraging. The seminar attracted much attention in Latin America and a number of Latin American Governments have said that they wish to study the record of its discussions. Action is being taken to follow up these responses. The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry has agreed to mount a seminar on Brazil in the autumn.

Mr. Luce

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Does he agree that the key to the ultimate success of this important conference will be the sustained building up of links with South America by the British Government and British industry? Will he continue to urge British industry to take successful follow-up action?

Mr. Godber

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his remarks. Of course it is very important to get effective follow-up action, and that is what we are seeking. I am encouraged by the number of people and Governments who have asked specifically for a full record of the conference, which we are providing, and there are specific points, apart from those contained in the set speeches, in questions and answers which will help us to understand one another and, we hope, draw us closer together.

Mr. Heffer

Was there any successful outcome of the discussions between the Foreign Office and the Chilean Foreign Minister last week? Is there likely to be an increase in trade with Chile and possibly additional credits to assist the Chilean Government, despite their political complexion, of which I am sure the right hon. Gentleman does not necessarily approve?

Mr. Godber

I do not think we would allow internal political views to affect our judgment in this. We take the view that it is right that we should have the friendliest relations with Chile. We had very useful discussions with the Chilean Foreign Minister. The question of debt and credits is very complicated. There have been discussions about multilateral problems with Chile at the Paris meetings in March and April. We are now engaged in bilateral negotiations with Chile and are seeking to find the best possible method of an expansion of trade which we want to see.

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