HC Deb 25 July 1973 vol 860 cc1601-2
15. Mr. Terry Davis

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will now invite a representative of the Government of the Soviet Union to visit the United Kingdom.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

In Helsinki I expressed the hope that Mr. Gromyko might be able to visit London before long. If he can do so we shall be very glad.

Mr. Davis

The right hon. Gentleman has noticed the repressive policies pursued by the Soviet Union, both at home and abroad. Does he see any difference between those policies and the policies pursued by the Portuguese Government?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

As I have said, there is injustice in too many countries, but that must not stop us having contacts with the leading statesmen in those countries and frankly explaining our point of view to them.

Mr. Edward Taylor

Before my right hon. Friend issues an invitation to any member State or its representatives, would it be wise and prudent to consult the Leader of the Opposition and the Parliamentary Labour Party to find out whether they wish to boycott the visit?

Mr. Peter Archer

When he meets representatives of the Soviet Government will the Foreign Secretary make it clear that those who condemn tyranny in Portugal, Greece and Spain are no less concerned when it occurs in the Soviet Union? Will he express the hope that the talks in Helsinki will lead to a better deal for the little guy, wherever he is?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

I will make it clear, as the hon. and learned Gentleman suggests. I hope that Mr. Gromyko will be able to come. I have had two good meetings with him lately—one in Paris, in the summer, and more recently in Helsinki—and I hope that he understands our position, particularly regarding Jews in the Soviet Union.