§ 10. Mr. Jim Marshall
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to meet his United States counterpart to discuss Anglo-United States of America interests in South America; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Pym
I look forward to meeting Mr. Shultz during his proposed visit to London from 16 to 19 December. Our discussions will be wide-ranging and will, no doubt, include Latin America. It is our view that Western interests in the region have not been significantly affected by the Falkland crisis. Apart from Argentina, our relations with Latin American countries remain good.
§ Mr. Marshall
Will the Foreign Secretary inform America of the Prime Minister's view that the Falkland Islands are vital to the strategy of the West—a view stated in the House yesterday? What is that strategy, and what input has there been into its development from America and other countries, especially our Western allies?
§ Mr. Rhodes James
Is my right hon. Friend aware that since 1945 there has been a consistent underestimation of the importance of Britain's interest in Latin America? When he meets Secretary Shultz, will he emphasise that, because of recent events, our interest is now revived and must be maintained?
§ Mr. Pym
I agree with my hon. Friend. My predecessor took a great deal of trouble to make a special effort to improve relations with Latin American countries. He paid them an extended visit. Since the conflict in the Falkland Islands has ended, a number of my right hon. and hon. Friends have visited that region. We shall continue that policy.
§ Mr. Clinton Davis
Is not one of the central issues affecting Latin and Central America the excesses in respect of human rights by various Governments? Does the right hon. Gentleman not agree that the United States and the Soviet Union have besmirched any reputation for credibility by their selectivity of condemnation? Is it not a pity that the right hon. Gentleman has shared that selectivity today by, rightly, condemning the Argentine, but saying not a word about Chile, and by, rightly, condemning the Soviet Union, but saying not a word about Syria?
§ Mr. Farr
Will my right hon. Friend tell the Americans, when they come to London, that their vote on the Falklands issue at the United Nations was inexplicable to many of their friends in Westminster? Will he remind them that they are supposed to stand for the rule of freedom and democracy, as we do, unlike many of the Governments of the mainland South American countries?