HC Deb 28 November 1973 vol 865 cc384-5
13. Mr. John Fraser

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has any plans officially to meet the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Anthony Royle

No, Sir.

Mr. Fraser

The situation has now changed, but will the Under-Secretary of State say whether, before there is recognition of the new régime, he will ask for assurances that there will be a restoration of democracy in Greece? Can he also tell us whether NATO has any views about the constant seizures of power by the army, and whether we, as a member of NATO, will urge the restoration of liberty, democracy and the rule of law in accordance with the terms of the charter of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation?

Mr. Royle

As the hon. Gentleman said, the situation has changed since he put down his question. We are of course assessing the question of Greece, to determine whether the new régime fulfils our normal criteria for recognition. As regards representations, I told the House on 23rd July that the then Greek Government were aware of our hope that Greece will be restored to full democratic processes. But we have no locus standi to make representations to any foreign government, even after the question of recognition has been decided, about the way in which they run their internal affairs.

Mr. Whitehead

As one of the first acts of the new régime in Greece has been to denounce President Papadopoulos for rigging the plebiscite, and as acceptance of that plebiscite was the ground given for recognition of that régime, should not the hon. Gentleman now apologise?

Mr. Royle

I think that all these matters are internal affairs for Greece, and are not ones for Her Majesty's Government. But I should like to say that I am naturally distressed by the loss of life in the recent clashes in Athens, and the House will wish to join me in expressing the hope that Greece will very soon be restored to full democratic processes.