HC Deb 02 May 1972 vol 836 cc195-6
Q4. Mr. Spearing

asked the Prime Minister if he will seek to make an official visit to Chile.

The Prime Minister

I have at present no plans to do so, Sir.

Mr. Spearing

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the plans of Her Majesty's Government for official representation at UNCTAD III in Santiago are regarded as quite inadequate? If the Government believe that this is an important conference, why did not the Minister for Overseas Development attend?

The Prime Minister

The other countries present, including the developing countries, accept that we attach great importance to the conference. The Secretary-General accepts it, as he said when we discussed the matter at No. 10.

It has been customary for the Minister responsible for trade to go. I went to the UNCTAD conference in 1964 when I was President of the Board of Trade. We have adhered to the usual arrangements. The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs is going to Santiago this week. I cannot accept the hon. Gentleman's criticisms of the Government's performance at Santiago, where my right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade put forward proposals of very great importance indeed.

Mr. Stratton Mills

May I assure my right hon. Friend, having visited Chile recently, that if he were to visit that country he would meet a very warm welcome in view of the strong desire for close contact with this country? Will my right hon. Friend in particular confirm that following the debt settlement talks in Paris, agreement was reached over the question of ECGD credit?

The Prime Minister

We have had a long and close association with Chile. There have been problems recently over the debt settlement, but I hope that these can now be satisfactorily settled.