HC Deb 25 July 1973 vol 860 cc1611-3
28. Mr. Woodhouse

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will reduce the level of British diplomatic representation in Athens.

Mr. Anthony Boyle

No, Sir.

Mr. Woodhouse

I thought not. But could not my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary find some way to make it clear to the Greek people that diplomatic recognition of the Republic does not imply approval of the military dictatorship—and will he do so before the plebiscite next Sunday? I assure him that this message has not got through.

Mr. Royle

I note my hon. Friend's remarks. My right hon. Friend the Minister of State made clear to the House on 4th July the basis on which we have accorded recognition to the Greek Republic. I have nothing to add to his full explanation of our decision, in which there was no element of political or moral approval or disapproval.

Sir Elwyn Jones

In the meantime. would it not be indecent for Her Majesty's Government to continue negotiating with the Greek Government about the adherence of the United Kingdom to the treaty of association between the EEC and Greece in view of the fact that the Greek representative, Mr. Pesmazoglou, who negotiated the treaty of association, and the Greek Foreign Minister, Mr. Averoff, who signed it, are both in the custody of the Greek military security police and have been there for a very long time without trial?

Mr. Royle

So far as Mr. Pesmazoglou and Mr. Averoff are concerned, I am always sorry when friends of Britain are imprisoned anywhere in the world. The Greek Government are aware of our concern about recent arrests, too. In regard to the EEC, the Heads of Government at the summit meeting last October said that full membership of the EEC must depend on democratic institutions. As for the supplementary protocol, I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman is aware that under the Treaty of Accession we are obliged to apply the provisions of the Community agreement with third countries, subject to any transitional arrangement or adaptation that may prove necessary. There can be no question of our seeking to renege on those obligations.

Mr. Marten

If some form of subsidiary legislation comes before the House. will the House be in a position to reject it?

Mr. Royle

Had my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) been present last night when I introduced an order on this subject, he would have heard me tell my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Woodhouse) that the House is perfectly able to vote against the order.

Mr. Orme

On the question of free democratic institutions, what representations has the hon. Gentleman received from our ambassador in Athens about the proposed plebiscite? Is he aware that there is a widespread feeling that this will be a fraud and that the American ambassador, who is normally an apologist for the Greek colonels, has raised this matter directly with the Greek Government? What information do we possess about the plebiscite?

Mr. Royle

The Greek Government are aware of our hope that Greece will be restored to full democratic processes, but we have no locus standing in making representations to any foreign Government about the way in which they run their affairs.