HC Deb 25 July 1973 vol 860 cc1593-4
4. Mr. Peter Archer

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will propose a meeting of ministerial representatives of the North Atlantic Treaty Powers.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

I see no need to do so. I represented Her Majesty's Government at the ministerial session of the North Atlantic Council in Copenhagen on 14th and 15th June.

Mr. Archer

Is it not time to reflect how an organisation which purports to be based on the principle of democracy can include Spain how one based on individual liberty can include Greece and Portugal: and how one based on the rule of law can include France, which has defied the International Court of Justice? Who is defending what against whom?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

I have already made clear that the NATO Alliance attaches importance to the membership of Portugal and Greece. The security of Europe should be in the hon. and learned Gentleman's mind as well as in mine.

Mr. Wilkinson

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that the countries of Western Europe should be deeply aware of what goes on the other side of the Iron Curtain—the suppression of human rights in the Ukraine, the Baltic States and in other nations, incorporated against their will in the Soviet Union—and should take the appropriate measures to concert their defence against potential aggression?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

Unhappily, there are infringements of human rights in many countries, but we must pay overriding attention to the security of the Continent of Europe.

Mr. Richard

With respect, the Foreign Secretary must not be so complacent—[Laughter.] I am serious about this. What he should realise and apparently does not

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. and learned Gentleman must put his remarks in the form of a question.

Mr. Richard

Is it not time the Foreign Secretary realised that a considerable body of opinion in this country—not confined to one party or one view—is seriously considering the continuation of the membership of Portugal and Greece of the NATO Alliance? Does the Foreign Secretary think that he is being helpful in giving the bland answer he gave?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

I hope that I am not being complacent about injustice, but I think that the hon. and learned Gentleman is being complacent about security. We make representations to Greece from time to time about infringements of justice, from the point of view of those who are in prison, but it is much better to do so in private than in public.