HC Deb 25 January 1978 vol 942 cc1371-2
10. Mr. Richard Wainwright

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek to pay an official visit to El Salvador during 1978.

Dr. Owen

No, Sir.

Mr. Wainwright

Does the Foreign Secretary accept that his Government's recent decision not to go ahead with the sale of armaments to El Salvador is most welcome to people in this country and overseas who are deeply concerned about the peace and freedom of that area?

Dr. Owen

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman.

Sir Bernard Braine

Is the Foreign Secretary aware that the difficulty which arises over the supply of that equipment and the fact that the Government had to seek assurances that it would not be used against neighbouring Belize would never have arisen if consideration had been given at the outset to the wisdom of supplying equipment to any Government who oppressed their own people? Has the lesson now been learned, and in future will British arms not be supplied to regimes that deny fundamental human rights to their own populations?

Dr. Owen

There are a few administrative lessons to be learned.

11. Mr. Newens

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the current state of relations between the United Kingdom and El Salvador.

Dr. Owen

There is no change in our relations.

Mr. Newens

May I congratulate my right hon. Friend on the Government's decision to cancel the arms deal with El Salvador? Will he now press the United States and other Powers not to supply arms to Guatemala or any of its allies until that country recognises the territorial integrity of Belize? Will he make a statement here and now that no undue pressure will be brought to bear on the Premier of Belize to sacrifice part of his territory to meet the demands of Guatemala before a settlement can be arrived at?

Dr. Owen

There is another Question on the Order Paper to which I hope to reply. No pressure has been or will be applied. The Government have made it clear to many Governments that we deplore the supply of arms to Guatemala in a situation in which we are faced with the current territorial dispute between Belize and Guatemala.

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