HC Deb 18 February 1976 vol 905 cc1263-4
2. Mr. Grylls

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next plans to meet the Spanish Foreign Minister.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. James Callaghan)

On 2nd March in London.

Mr. Grylls

When the right hon. Gentleman meets the Spanish Foreign Minister again, will be give him some encouragement and sympathetic understanding of Spain's desire to join the EEC and to the possibility of Spain's joining NATO—although admittedly that is in the future? Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the steps taken towards democracy in Spain are important, but must be encouraged and allowed to proceed at their own pace?

Mr. Callaghan

I certainly agree that the Spanish Government should be encouraged in their plans for liberalization, particularly in relation to the introduction of such rights as universal suffrage and free collective bargaining. It will be interesting for me to hear the views of the Spanish Foreign Minister on these matters, and that will help me to determine what the view of Her Majesty's Government should be in relation to both the EEC and NATO.

Mr. Dalyell

Is my right hon. Friend in a position to say anything about contracts with Socialist parties in Spain?

Mr. Callaghan

I had contact with the Socialist parties in Spain in my capacity as Treasurer of the Labour Party when I went to Copenhagen recently for the conference of Socialist leaders. I was very encouraged by what they had to say and by their desire to change the framework, but to work within it without violence.

Sir A. Meyer

Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that it is he and not the Secretary of State for Employment who is responsible for our relations with Spain?

Mr. Callaghan

Yes, Sir. My right hon. Friend, whose record on behalf of freedom in Spain is well known and stands in marked contrast to that of the defenders of Franco Spain on the Benches opposite, consulted me before he made his speech, and I was very happy for him to say what he said.