HC Deb 25 July 1973 vol 860 cc1587-9
2. Mr. Robert Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussion he had with Dr. Caetano during his recent official visit to the United Kingdom.

11. Mr. Clinton Davis

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the recent official visit to this country of Dr. Caetano, the Portuguese Prime Minister.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

Dr. Caetano had discussions with my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, as well as myself. These discussions covered a variety of matters of mutual concern.

Mr. Hughes

In these discussions did the Foreign Secretary make plain to Dr. Caetano that the continuing open connivance of the Portuguese Government with the Smith régime on sanctions busting is behaviour hardly fitting in one of our oldest allies? Did he make clear also that this was in opposition to the British Government's policy and against the interests of the people of Rhodesia, and that so long as the Portuguese Government carry on this war of aggression in their overseas territory the British Government will makes moves towards ending the alliance and seek to have Portugal expelled from NATO?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

The answer to the last part of the question is "No, Sir". We think that Portugal is of great value in the NATO Alliance. I told Dr. Caetano that Portuguese policies towards sanctions were contrary to our interests and I asked whether he could change them.

Mr. Davis

Was the Portuguese Prime Minister prepared to give any undertakings on the sanctions-busting operations that his evil régime has been engaged in? Was not it completely paradoxical that the Foreign Secretary should be engaged in these junketings with the Portuguese Prime Minister at a time when he was seeking to undermine our foreign policy? What effect has the Portuguese Prime Minister's visit had on our relations with black African States which are wholly opposed to his régime?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

I do not think that it has had any effect on our relations with black African States, which perfectly well understand that our relationship with Portugal is concerned with security in NATO and trade between the two countries. I do not think, therefore, that there has been any adverse effect in this respect.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Having regard to Atlantic defence and the Cape route, does not the suggestion of the hon. Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Robert Hughes) amount to the complete destruction of the Western Alliance and the defence of this country? Should not such hon. Members say which side they are on in these matters?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

During our recent debate we attached considerable importance to Portuguese membership of the NATO Alliance, and Portugal has a very important seaboard.

Mr. Goronwy Roberts

Does the right hon. Gentleman nevertheless agree that there is a substantial view in this country and, indeed, in Europe, that the cohesion of NATO may ultimately depend upon the Portuguese Government's taking a wholly new attitude in their colonial policy and towards United Nations sanctions policy?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

The cohesion of NATO is very important, but I do not notice a great interest in the country about this matter.